by Steve on August 15, 2010

Last night the basics for this piece started bouncing around in the old noggin as my wife and granddaughter slept peacefully. Earlier the wife and I had stretched out amidst the chaos and watched a movie once the little Bug was down. Much of it was shot in Manhattan and like so many others shot in the last nine years, showed a diminished skyline. I can’t help remembering the collapsing towers whenever I see that still-magnificent profile.

After the movie my wife rapidly exchanged the couch for the bed and resumed close examination of her eyelids and I went through my routine for securing the house. Dogs kenneled so I wouldn’t have to listen to Moose dreaming on the deck, cars and garage locked up, lights out, and alarm on. Sleeping sounds from my girls. All secure and as it should be. For a moment I contemplated firing up the computer but doubted my ability to keep my eyes open for long since they had popped open a few hours early that same morning.

I sat listening to a quiet house thinking about how much has changed in the last decade and wondering what kind of world my granddaughter will grow up in. She’s at that age, just over a year, where everything is fascinating and she’s trying so hard to tell me about it all. Her expressions are priceless – sometimes I see my daughter and a split second later the vision will change to an attribute unmistakably belonging to my son-in-law. Unfortunately my genes are missing: I have no biological children but I have a wonderful daughter and she, trusting that the world would continue to turn and the sun rise, has given me a new title. It makes me feel older but even more loved so I guess that’s a good compromise.

The last noises settled: the dogs had their dispute over the night’s bunking arrangements, the water pipes cooled and stopped their muffled pops, and the refrigerator gave one last loud crack signing off for the night. All safe and sound. It reminded me of standing watch almost 20 years ago now, you can resign or retire but the service mentality never really lets go. The sheepdog analogy comes to mind for once a sheepdog, always a sheepdog – never really part of the flock. Even the old dog watches for threats, he may not see or hear as well as he used to but if the fight comes in close he’ll still pitch into it.

I want to protect her from all that is ugly and mean in this world and we still have a few years of innocence left before she has to shoulder her share of the debt our society has heaped on her. For the moment her world is small and consists of favorite toys, yogurt bites, and unconditional love. I intend to enjoy it before I have to compete with whatever her equivalent of texting turns out to be and teach her how to recognize the wolves.

{ 1 comment }

Frances August 15, 2010 at 18:50


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