Thursday, May 24, 2007

In memory of those whom we cannot forget

One of 3B's favorite new tricks is breathing water. As he's learning to stand unassisted by couches, chairs, pant legs, or Barky's tail, 3B is practicing downward-facing dog every chance he gets, including in the tub.

From his perspective, that's got to be a perfect place for it--the traction is great, with the new sticky bathmat that Mama and Papa put down. There is, however, the small issue of the water on top of the bathmat. We think that he's pretty much figured out that water is not a breathable substance, but not without some gagging, hacking, and barfing.

We, of course, do our best to keep him from doing this, but he's a quick little otter in the tub. One minute he's trying to bite a chunk off of his foam letter or eat the soap dish, and the next he's popped up into his down-dog pose. As soon as we can, we grab our capsized baby and set him down, right side up, although he's usually managed to inhale half a gallon of bathwater through his nose by then. Now that he's finally figuring out how to deal with the water, it's actually a little funny to us, although it's still a little scary. And the first few times he did it, it was terrifying.

It's also terrifying to think that after all of our precautions to keep him safe and healthy--car seat, video monitor, outlet faceplates, sunscreen, hats, coats, and everything else--that 3B could ever come to any harm, later in life. And I don't think that most parents are any less cautious or loving than we are, or that their children are any less beautiful than 3B is--sweet, happy, loving, curious, ambitious, and overflowing with potential.

All of this is what makes me feel the heartbreaks that we recognize this weekend more keenly now that I'm a dad.

I cannot imagine 3B, or anyone's child, going into combat--going to face someone who is trying to kill them, or going to attempt to kill someone--or any of them suffering the ravages of combat. And yet, they continue to serve, each for their own reasons, but each one who stations himself or herself in harm's way protects the rest of us from harm, at the least. In some cases, they lead us to freedom.

In our family, there are veterans going all the way back to those who fought the British to help found this country . . .
. . . and coming all the way down to my uncles, who all served, and Dad, who served in both WWII and Korea. This weekend, Mama's cousin, a Marine who's completed two tours in Iraq, is coming to town to stay with us and ride in Rolling Thunder. Every time I think of him--a strong, smart, and big-hearted guy--over there in Iraq, I think of 3B. I particularly think of how much fun 3B will have playing with him as he grows up. Mama's cousin can take 3B for walks in the woods, take him fishing, show him how to drive a tractor--and pass on all of the fun, the knowledge, and the love that his parents gave him as a boy. But only if he's still here when 3B grows up.

So this weekend, we'll be enjoying our time with Mama's cousin. As he holds 3B in his bulky arms, we'll be keeping in mind all of our relatives, ancestors, and countrymen and women who have served and are serving in the armed forces. None of them are motherless or fatherless children, and all of them deserve the long lives, full of love, safe from harm, and full of peace, that their parents envisioned for them.

UPDATE: Per MrGrammar's comment.

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  1. Wow... great post, Bradstein! Really. It's amazing to think that we even have wars, given how much I think each of us want to protect our kids.

  2. . . . and don't forget a couple of brothers-in-law (who I think both served--one I know for sure in GWI).


    P.S. MrGrammar says (ahem): whom. Rhymes with doom and tomb (and likewise flume, where some ancestors perish instead of on a field of mud and glory). So the solemnity of the grammar echoes the graveness of the occasion.