When I used to perform at Walt Disney World, I often worked the night parade. It was my favorite shift. Getting a bird’s eye view of big & small dreamers, watching their eyes light up, nudging one another with glee, was unlike anything else. Folks would clamor for the front row, hoping to stand right up on the curb. They wanted thee best view to get thee best pictures. They shouted and waved frantically for each character’s attention.

Papa never did that. On Main Street in Magic Kingdom, he stood with his back against the storefronts. There was a sea of people all vying for *thee* spot on the curbs, an empty space of sidewalk, then the storefront spots completely vacant. Except for Papa.

He would stand there, grinning proudly, quietly, hands in his pockets, eyes never leaving me. He didn’t care to get a photo. He didn’t care if the little green fairy saw him. He just wanted the little green fairy to know he saw her. So he stood back. Alone. Quiet. In plain view. Loving loudly. Making sure that little green fairy knew he saw her. Making sure she knew he loved her and was proud. But just out of reach.

That’s how it feels now. I can see him so clearly in my mind’s eye. I can talk to him, praying he hears me. But I can’t reach him. And I can’t hear him back. He’s just out of reach. But he’s there, nonetheless. Smiling. Peaceful. Making sure his family knows he sees them, loves them, and is proud of them. So clearly in view, but just out of reach. This image brings me comfort every day. I know he’s there. I know he is happier and more at peace than ever. But oh…what I wouldn’t give just to reach him. Even just one more time.

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