First published in Hedgerow #122, Winter 2017, page 20. Originally written in September of 2013, as a Facebook posting. The kids are older now . . .

One thing that has surprised me in being a dad is how physical it is. Not just bath-time and changing diapers when the kids are babies, but holding hands, picking them up, carrying them, snuggling on the couch, lifting them to see over fences or into mirrors, applying band-aids, hugging them. The physicality changes as they grow older. Today was the first day of school this year. Thomas is now in fourth grade, and Sarah is in second grade, and they were excited—Sarah even made her bed without being asked. I took the obligatory new-school-year photos this morning, and then, after I gave them a short pep talk about doing well in school, making new friends, and learning something new each day, Thomas and Sarah rushed out the door. Only after they were gone did I realize something. I hadn’t hugged them.

house for sale—

a tinge of colour

in the elm I planted