I always notice – the child sitting upon a parent’s shoulders – usually a dad’s, it seems. And every time I do, I am struck by the pure expression of trust, of contentment that I see in the child’s eyes and expression.
For to sit up so high – taller than everyone – to see as far as the eye can see – to move along at the pace of an adult – to have a parent’s hand on their legs, keeping the child secure – to feel this security, so connected, so together – is a special joy.
Often, a child gets to survey a new situation from the shoulders of a parent – to get the lay-of-the-land, to understand a new experience before being ready to explore on one’s own.
Sometimes a child is too weary to go on, or frightened, or shy – sometimes sitting on a parent’s shoulders is just for fun, or to see over others’ heads in a busy crowd.
Children look to their parents for connection, love, playfulness and security. And a ride on a parent’s shoulders provides all of these things.
A simple gesture, a special gesture – its impact perhaps going unnoticed by the parent carrying this precious cargo.
But not to me. I always notice – and not to the child, I believe, who just might always remember when.