My heart has been broken many times over the years for many different reasons. Usually it has had something to do with a woman. Once I even loaned my car to the woman I was madly in love with that week so she could go out on a date with another guy.
A few times I’ve had my heart set on a job or a promotion that did not come my way and was very hurt, but… C’est la vie!
Or, as Bon Jovi so eloquently put it: “When the world gets in my face, I say, Have a nice day.”
Wait a second…“Have A Nice Day?” Are you kidding me? What ever happened to Bon Jovi? Consider his response to life in 1990 when he rocked with “Blaze of Glory.” Now he got a hair cut and panders to working married women in their 40’s with 3 kids and a dog. In 1988, if you got in Bon Jovi’s face you’d be scared the man just might actually be wanted, dead or alive somewhere out west.
Now, he just wishes you to “Have A Nice Day?”
This was the guy could alternately lay on a bed of nails and roses, for cryin’ out loud.
ATTENTION: To the government agency/alien race that abducted Bon Jovi sometime during his hiatus in the late 90’s, can you please return him?
But of all the things that have broken my heart over the years, such as woman viewing me more like a little brother than a lover, or my favorite rock stars turning soft on me, my latest hurt stings in a different way.
Not my age. It’s never really bothered me as I’ve gotten older, but strangely enough it is bothering me as my children are growing up. I find myself both swelling with pride and missing the moments that are lost forever all at the same time.
When my son was younger I would often sing to him. His favorite song was “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” It’s a beautiful little bitty ditty about a little boy who has a magical friend named ‘Puff” and the two would have amazing adventures together. (No, the song is not about pot, so don’t even go there) I would sing this song for him almost every night before he fell asleep. I even burned this song on a CD for him and he would have me play it over and over again while we waited for his mother to shop.
“Play it again, Daddy!” So I would. I never minded listening to this song 5-6 times in a row. Besides, sometimes his mother took awhile to shop.
“Puff, the magic Dragon, lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee. Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff and brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sails, Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff’s gigantic tail. Noble kings and princes would bow whene’er they came. Pirate ships would lower their flags when Puff roared out his name.”
There were many nights I would watch him as his eyes would begin to flicker in REM sleep. I couldn’t help but wonder what adventures he was dreaming about with a dragon of his very own.
It was one of the most precious moments I’ve had as a father. (To all of you single readers; I’ve had many amazing moments like this as a parent, btw. That is one of the daily miracles of being a daddy…you get bags of stories like this)
But there is a tragedy woven into the second verse of the song. It broke my heart when I would sing it to my son years ago, and it broke my heart earlier this week:
“A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys. Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys. One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more and Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar. His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain. Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane. Without his lifelong friend, Puff could not be brave, So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.”
Little boys grow up and forget about the dreams they had when they were toddlers. My son and I were talking about the earliest memory he had. He rattled on about things that happened last week.
“No, Gavin…I mean before that.”
He came up with a story or two from Kindergarten.
Out of the blue, I asked my son about “Puff.” He did not remember the song at all. I realized that it had been years since I sang it to him and somewhere between now and then was that grey night it happened.
My son had grown up just a little bit and had left his old magic world behind forever.
Of course his imagination is just as active as ever. Puff the Magic Dragon has been replaced by the mighty Smog and tales of Hobbits. Noble Kings and Pirate Ships have been replaced by Han Solo and Batman. He still imagines worlds beyond our own, but somewhere in the mists of his imagination lies a forgotten little island called Honah Lee with a very lonely dragon that has been waiting for a little boy who will never return.