Recently, I saw the newest installment of the Hunger Games series. I'll try not to spoil anything during this discussion, but if you don't already know that the main character, Claptrap Evergreen remains hungry, then you aren't going to want to watch this movie anyway. So, during the movie, the chief bad guy, known as President Snow (this is symbolic because he is played by Donald Sutherland and he represents snow and college professors who sleep with Karen Allen...heady stuff, symbolism) is watching the dystopian version of television (known as "television") with his granddaughter. This humanizes him and reminds us that even the most vicious, hardened career politician can lose the remote. So his granddaughter, lovingly played by, well, I don't know, but I'm sure she will be in rehab and People magazine soon enough, looks at the screen even though she should be outside playing and getting some fresh air and we asked you to watch her while we ran errands and all you did was stick her in front of the television? We are not voting for you next time Grampa President. She sees two characters taking a break from the monotony of escaping certain death to share an embrace and probably, fleas and she says "someday, I want to love someone like that." I hope she doesn't refer to the fleas.
So, pop-pop Snow (I can't imaging she calls him President) says "You will." It is said with that knowing look which indicates that he wasn't really listening and if she would just shut up, he could remember where he put the remote so he can put CNBC back on or at least the History channel. Anything but this reality crap. How do these kids watch this stuff? Damn kids...errands my eye. They just want to dump this rugrat on me so that they can drink coffee and plan how they are going to spend my money. MY money.
I thought about that level of love and how you know that it is there. Then I took a walk (by then, I mean a day later) with my younger daughter. The child is 14. This isn't really a "baby" by most conventional standards but we both let the other operate under than illusion. She lets me hug her and I let her let me hug her. While we were walking, and we held hands (which is OK because no one was around to see), she stumbled a bit. Now I don't know if you have kids, but something I realized from way back when is that when I am holding my kids' hands, or at least one of them, and she stumbles, my hand tightens reflexively and I pull up. When they were little, this was useful because it saved them from falling on their faces. This would, in turn, cause crying and such and I would have to pick up my child and carry her, and this would hurt my back. This seems to me to be a profound expression of love which exists on a level beyond what we try for. By the way, a hurting back is no laughing matter unless it happens to someone else Can you imagine if I had to carry a grown child now because she won't stop crying about some stupid lollipop or whatever? My back hurts just thinking about. And so do my teeth. I hate lollipops. Now that she is older, you would figure that if she stumbles, I can be reassured that she will be able to right herself, or else, she will fall and get back up. I imagine that were I to walk with someone else to whom I am not related, and still, felt the need to holds hands with, were that person to stumble, I would act in a perfectly appropriate fashion and let go, thus saving myself, and giving us both something to laugh about. Or at least me something to laugh about and someone to laugh about So the net sum is still 2 laughs. That's gotta count for something.
And yet, for this 14 year old, I held on for dear life. And I have noticed the same thing when I hold hands with my wife or my older daughter. Imagine that kind of deep seated love that I must have on an instinctual level, that, without thinking, I tense up and move to protect that thing which means so much. So, to you, young Snow grad daughter, here is my blessing for you -- when you grow up, and when you have gotten over the trauma of learning how much of a jerk your grandfather is (and what's with that beard?), that you find someone you want to share your life with. And, as you age, you never forget that there is a deep mutual reliance and therefore urge to protect that thing that makes you stand tall and feel a sense of pride and happiness -- so when you are walking with your grown child and you hold her hand and she stumbles, your love bubbles up without any effort and you do what ever it takes to protect the well being of your back.