Saturday, January 23, 2010

Forever Shall Ophelia Climb

Zoe pops the cork on her second week on the planet today. I wonder if she has noticed yet all of the ways in which the world has changed during her tenure to date. If she has been busy doing other things - like being an eight-day-old baby - and she has missed any of it I am certain she will be OK. Somewhere, someone has likely been recording it all. Remember once upon a time we used to speak of recording something, "for posterity's sake"? Apparently posterity was too difficult to spell or perhaps to pronounce. So we discarded posterity for something brighter and shinier.

Lucky for young Zoe that in spite of her indifference to and of the world around her, Mom and Dad are not planning on trading her in for something brighter and shinier. She is sufficiently excellent for their liking; thank you very much. Besides being bright and shiny she has that super-cool new baby smell and you cannot get that just anywhere.

She is of the age still - although if I was to crack open the Pez dispenser momentarily and share a bit of wisdom with her Mom and Dad it would be not to blink so they do not miss this age entirely - where most of the world's monsters and dangers are somewhere else. She does not have to deal with them on a day in, day out basis. And while feeding her and changing her and caring for her will be a 24/7 gig for her parents - for present purposes they are safe from monster duty, which is of course a wonderful thing.

Life has a way of reminding all of us who use the word "parent" as at least one of the ways in which we describe ourselves that for all of our best efforts and good intentions, bad shit can still happen to the children we love. And it happens regardless of who we are, where we are or the amount of coin we have in the bank.

Danger appears in forms clearly recognizable, such as an enemy on a battlefield upon which sons and daughters such as Marine Sgt. Christopher Hrbek fight and too often die in the service of us. It shows its face as well in a natural disaster of cataclysmic proportions, which does bad things to all it encounters including those who were in a rough place doing good works. Too often danger to our children takes a form so diabolical that neither we nor they recognize it until the harm it carries within it has been unleashed upon them. Sadly, even when justice appears to have been served, its arrival is not always timely.

I find myself rooting for the J-E-T-S to win their way to Miami and the Super Bowl (the thought having just occurred to me that I have no idea what number Super Bowl we are on at this point although I presume it is a number in the mid-40's) so that my siblings and my friends who are long-suffering fans of the green and white can extend their moment as long as possible. And although empathy for billionaires is not something I have in large supply, I have been taken more than a little by the plight of Jets' owner Woody Johnson and his family. At or about the same time as the football team he owns began its ascent through the AFC playoffs, Mr. Johnson did something no parent would ever wish on another parent. He buried his own child.

Being culturally obtuse I am forced to confess that until I heard a news account of her death I did not know who she was. I failed to realize that during her life Casey Johnson had achieved some level of celebrity. I cannot pretend to have had any insight at all as to whether her celebrity arose from something she was known for as opposed to who she was. Then again, a year ago or so when I first heard the name of the young woman to whom she was allegedly engaged I thought that the newscaster was talking about a brand of tequila. It was only when I saw a photograph of her for the first time that I realized she was an actual person. Candidly, I think she seemed less annoying when I believed her to be liquor, much like Jose Cuervo or some such thing.

Mr. Johnson has had to spend a fair amount of time the past several weeks reminding the growing contingent of press surrounding his team that winning two NFL playoff games (even on the road both weeks) does not offset the loss of his daughter. The time he has spent each of the past two weekends watching the players who he pays to play advance in the playoffs has been a welcome distraction for as long as each game has lasted; but not a moment longer.

Any parent can understand that regardless of when and how the Jets' season ends, it shall not be their season that causes January 2010 to be burned into his memory forever:

Don't you sometimes wonder
Why it all goes by so fast
I held you in my fingers
Now I hold you in my past
Once I watched you Walk on water
Now I watch you Walk across the room
I always thought We'd have forever
Now these forevers Go by too soon.

No sense hurrying them along any faster than necessary; right? Not for Zoe. Not for anybody.


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