The Power You Have

When my grandma died, I was unreasonably devastated. Wiped out. Completely and utterly ruined. A train wreck. Mowed down to the ground.

This made no sense.

I mean, I hardly talked to her in her latter years until she got sick. I didn’t grow up in the same town, so I only saw her occasionally as a child. As much as I loved and revered her, she just didn’t play a huge role in my day-to-day life. What difference could it possibly make whether she was alive on the other side of the country or not?

It took me months to figure out what that was all about and when I finally did it wiped me out again.

She was my safety net. She was the person who was *always looking out for me*. From my earliest days to the end, she loved me without judgment, unconditionally and with no reservation. There was nothing in the world she wouldn’t do for me. If I ever needed her, she was THERE for me.

Losing that is having the earth shifted out from under you.

What I learned during the grieving process, however, is that I never actually lost it. She gave it to me, an unconditional, lifelong gift that no one can ever, ever take away from me. To be loved like that, to be held and cherished and safety-netted like that–that is never, ever lost. It’s just that it lives inside me now.

Okay, so THAT’s not what I just realized. Here’s what I just realized.

There are people in your life for whom YOU are that person. You may not often see them. You may not even call them but once in a blue moon. But if you’re part of their safety net–if they occasionally call you when things are rough, if they ping you on FB when they want to talk, and if you accept them and love them and take care of them when they need you… YOU give them that gift.

You have that power. So do I.

Oh my gosh.

You guys.

Safety Net   geograph.org .uk   975426 The Power You Have
Photo Courtesy Ian Paterson

Why Big Bird’s Heartbreaking Tale Matters

The story of Big Bird calling up a little boy in a cancer ward went viral under the title, “Big Bird Broke Our Hearts Today,” and for good reason: It’s a massive tear-jerker. Sweet and quiet and redeeming and heartbreaking.

But I think it’s more than that. I think it’s important. BIG and important.

Until recently, almost nobody had ever heard of Caroll Spinney. He’s been playing the same exact character on the same show for more than 40 years, and nobody ever even saw his face. He made sure of it by asking photographers to never publish images of him outside of his costume. I mean, who does that?

01 caroll spinney 02 sized 300x257 Why Big Birds Heartbreaking Tale Matters
1969 photo Spinney requested not be published so it wouldn’t ruin the character for the children.

Why didn’t he, at some point, leverage his success to take on “more challenging roles”? Or roles that at least showed his face, set him up for bigger roles? Maybe his own show. He could have been a superhero!

Isn’t that how it’s done?

Instead, he chose to stay in the same place. Some people would call that stagnation. Some people would say that it was a waste of his talent, or that it was cowardly–why not take some risk? Why not do something bigger and better? I mean, 40 years? Wouldn’t you get BORED?

That’s not how Caroll Spinney saw it. He saw that he had a good thing and that was enough for him. He saw that he was doing something that made a difference, and that was enough for him.

And when he called that little boy, he saw that, “What I say to children can be very important.”

And isn’t that true for all of us? Isn’t it true for the mothers who hold their children while they cry; the mothers without children who see another mother struggling and say, “you can talk to me if you want to”; the grieving mothers who see someone else’s child and do a small kind deed even though inside they are crying?

You (and I) don’t have to be known to the masses. We don’t have to strive for that big promotion or that byline in the major magazine or Best Employee of the Year award. We don’t have to do big things that everybody knows about. None of that really matters anyway. What matters is this:

What we say to children can be very important. And that is enough. That, my friends, IS how you become a superhero.

 

Sports in the Afternoon

Yesterday I drove 40 minutes to watch Monty play Lacrosse in Mooresville. I sat next to a loud-mouth who wouldn’t stop bad-mouthing our team and our coach the whole time, a prime example of one reason I don’t like sports: They seem to attract this type.

Also, they’re boring. Mind-numbing.

Monty played about ten minutes in the first game, and I missed five of them because I was reading Sartre.

In the hour between the games I lay in the dry grass and let him sit in my chair, because he was tired, and I stared at the trees and wondered how I came to be here and why.

In the second game, he played quite a bit and I saw all of it. I watched how he kept his head up, went where he was supposed to go, did what he was supposed to do. Nothing flashy, just a kid doing his best, listening to his coach, and looking out for his teammates.

On the way home he played Taylor Swift and Bruce Mendes on Youtube through the car speakers and I listened to it all because I got it figured out, why I went, why I sat through it all. It’s not because I love sports (I don’t), not because I had to (I didn’t), not because I’m a great mom (ha).

I did it because I’m keenly aware that not everybody gets to spend an afternoon with their 14-year-old, not everyone gets to watch their baby grow up. Some people would trade almost anything for an afternoon like mine, and by gum if I won’t be grateful for it.

Grandma Leaves Me Coins (Part Two)

I’ve been convinced for some time now that my grandma leaves me coins to let me know she loves me and is still with me. I’m not sure how it works exactly, but I have my theories, as you can read in the original “Grandma Leaves Me Coins” essay.

She leaves them strategically, exactly at moments when I particularly need to know she’s with me.

She frequently leaves them for me at the theater where I perform improv comedy. This makes sense, logically speaking, because the theater is behind a bar and people often drop coins, so of course I’d find more coins there.

What logic doesn’t explain is how, when we cleaned out their house after Grandpa’s death, we found coins in every nook and cranny, in every drawer, in every wallet, jewelry box, crevice, and box. Pennies, dollars, quarters, half dollars. The place overflowed with coins. At one point, Dad handed me a silver dollar and said, “There. Now your grandpa leaves you coins too.”

Yes, yes. Of course he does. Yes.

In a box in the garage, Mom found a gift of coins from Grandma to her four grandchildren: Four brand new electronic coin banks, still in their boxes. A gift from beyond this world. Coins.

Explain it. I’m sure you can. I’m sure it’s just coincidence or confirmation bias or some other scientifically validated phenomenon. Randomness in action.

I’m sure you can explain it away, I’m sure you’re perfectly capable, but I won’t believe you.

On Saturday night, there was a bright, shiny penny in the coat room where we leave our things during performances at the theater. I picked it up, of course, and put it in my pocket. On the way home that night, there was another penny in a crack in the sidewalk, an old, beat-up, dark brown, dented and pockmarked penny. I picked it up and put it in my pocket too.

Then I gradually started freaking myself out. I got to wondering if maybe Grandma doesn’t approve of my performances at the theater. Maybe she thinks they’re too worldly. Maybe she’s trying to tell me that before the performance, I’m a bright and shiny penny, and afterward I’m dirty.

Because this is the ridiculous way my mind works sometimes. Because Grandma would never have gone to so much trouble to be judgmental.

Ridiculous, but it worried me.

Until Grandma reached out and showed me the truth.

Sunday afternoon, we headed back to the theater for our weekly practice. In the driveway was a penny. I picked it up. On the car seat was another penny. I put it in my pocket. In the parking lot beside our spot outside the theater, another penny. In the bar behind which we perform, I found a dime. Shiny and new. I put them all in my left pocket. For some reason, I also reached into my right pocket, which had previously been empty. I had just pulled my pants out of the dryer right before leaving the house, and yet–there was now a penny in that pocket.

There was another penny, a shiny, bright, brand new one, in the center of the front seat in the theater. I found one more on my way back in from the bathroom a short while later.

Total: Seven. Seven coins between our house and the theater in the course of an hour. Seven far exceeds the record for a whole day, let alone one hour. Seven is a magic number. Seven is the number of completeness. Seven is the day God rested in the perfection of creation. Seven. Seven is a record-breaking, over-the-top display of abundant love. Seven is the number of coins Grandma left me.

“Don’t stop. Keep playing. I love it when you perform.”

She always did love to watch me perform. She was so proud of me. Is so proud of me.

She thinks I’m perfect.

Grandma leaves me coins.

The Peculiar Birth of a Strange Child

You know those birth stories where the mom’s in labor for, like, 40 hours, and it’s miserable and hard and she cries a lot and everyone worries about the baby and then, finally, at the end the baby FINALLY comes out, with a lot of help, and everyone’s exhausted but proud because they got through it?

Eli’s birth story was nothing like that.

Eleven years ago today, at about this time of day, I started feeling some pressure in my abdomen. I called a friend (Meredith Barringer Sutton) and told her that I felt “funny” but that I didn’t want to bother Carey at work.

About an hour later, I did call him and asked him to come home, because I just felt so odd. “But don’t hurry, Babe–just whenever you’re able to get away.”

A little later, I called again and said, “Oh, and pick up some snacks on your way home?”

When Carey arrived home, around 1:30pm, I was in the tub with our 3-year-old son, and I said, “I think we might have this baby today. I don’t know, though.”

Thirty minutes later, Elijah Pierce Head slid out into the world on a second hollering push, into the hands of his mother and father simultaneously, while his big brother watched shows in the other room with his hands over his ears to block out the “too loud! too loud!”

Eli’s birth was strange, and powerful, and fast, and he hasn’t slowed down on any of those measures since. Still skinny, too.

Eli in Hats 229x300 The Peculiar Birth of a Strange Child

Organized Chaos

My grandparent’s house is a study in organized chaos. Grandma and Grandpa saved everything, significant and insignificant, and we are left to sort it all–a task simultaneously both beautiful and grueling. The living room is piled with mementos, the bedroom is stacked with clothes. The kitchen is mostly intact except for the box where we toss flashlights when we find them. There are approximately six thousand of them in there. It is overflowing.

This afternoon, Dad came out to the garage from the kitchen, where he stopped to toss in yet another flashlight before stepping down into the path we’ve carved through the boxes of tools and costume jewelry and vinyl records. He cleared his throat, and with great emotion, said what we all have been thinking.

“What wouldn’t I give for the chance to look Dad in the eye one more time,” he said, “and ask, ‘Dad, what were you thinking when you purchased that last flashlight?'”

IMG 20150120 155232349 300x168 Organized Chaos

Best of Everett (Age X)

Seven years ago today, right about now (10pm), Everett came into this world pink and pudgy and not at all breathing. For thirty seconds, he took no breath and made no sound. If I had known then what I know now, I would have enjoyed those thirty seconds more. It was the last moment of silence I would ever experience in his presence again.

In fact, he seems to have made a point to make up for those first few tense moments by cracking us up at every possible moment. By age 3, he had developed quite the fan following on Facebook for my “Everett (Age 3)” posts based on things he said. Over the ensuing years, it became “Everett (age 4)” and “Everett (age 5)” and now it’ll be “Everett (age 7).” For your enjoyment, and in celebration of his birthday, here’s a collection of the Best of Everett (Age X).

Everett (Age 3)

Everett: Do you love my eyes? I love your eyes. They are super pretty.
Me: Aww… Ow! What are you doing?
Everett: I’m going to steal them and keep them for myself. <Poke!>

**

Everett: I HATE you Mommy!
Me: Everett, that’s not a good thing to say.
Everett (after a moment’s thought): Well then, what SHOULD I say when I hate someone?

**

Everett: You have three choices Mommy. Yes, or yes, or not no.

**

Everett: What does it mean when you make me go sit on the stairs?
Me: Well, what do you think it means?
Everett: It means… that you still love me.
Me: Mmm… true…
Everett (after a moment’s thought): And that you’re a jerk.

**

Everett, Age 4

Everett: Mommy. First of all, I need to go poop. Second of all, you need to wipe my butt. Got it? That’s my plan.

**

Scene: The car.
Everett: Doo, when I get to be a big person, like you, I’m going to be a good driver.
Carey: You’re going to be a good driver like me?
Everett: No no no. I’m not going to yell at the other people when I drive.

**

The boy loves his mama.

Carey (singing Guns N Roses): Everett, do ya wanna down to the paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty?
Everett: But Doo. The grass IS green. (Meeting my eyes with a dimpled smile) And Mommy’s the girl and SHE is pretty.

**

But also keeps her humble.

Everett, investigating my hands: Mommy, you’re getting old.
After a moment’s thought: I guess I will have to get a new mommy.
Hopping down to go play: When you die soon. Bye.

**

Everett gets up from the table explaining that he needs to go poop. One minute later, we hear a call from the bathroom: “Nope. I didn’t need to poop. It was just a fart.” Pause. “Do I still have to wash my hands?”

**

Everett absorbs everything like a sponge, including salty words he may hear in passing. He understands we prefer him not to use certain words, so when in doubt he asks whether a word is okay or not. One day, sitting on the toilet, singing and chattering:

Oooo, I’m singing on the toilet going poop right now! Oooooo!! I’m going poop and it’s not coming out… It’s a hard one, Oooo, this one’s really a …

Then: Mommy!

Me: Yes, baby?

Everett: Can I say, “son of a b*tch”?

**

Everett (Age 5)

Everett: Who’s going to be the first one in our family to smoke? Oh, I know, Doo.

Eli (Age 9): No, Doo doesn’t smoke.

Everett: I know. So I’m going to be the first one.

Eli: No, you don’t want to do that. Smoking is bad for you.

Everett: Why? Do bad guys smoke?

Eli: No, it’s bad for your throat.

Everett: Then why do people do it?

Eli: Because it doesn’t hurt right away. It’s bad for it eventually. And then you have to have surgery and have your throat taken out and a new one put in.

Everett: Does it hurt?

Eli: No, but…

Everett: Then I’m going to smoke.

**

Everett (Age 6)

Everett: Eli, if we were in a survival situation and all we had was Mommy, would you care if the food was burned?

**

Me: Okay, no kissing on the mouth right now. On the cheek.
Everett: Because my tongue is out?
Me: Yes.
Everett: Do you want to tongue kiss?
Me: Um. No. No, not ever. Nope. Parents don’t tongue kiss with kids.
Everett: Do you and Doo tongue kiss?
Me: Well. Yes. Sometimes.
Everett: You mean like this? [Sticks his tongue out] And then you put your tongues together?
Me: Well, sort of…
Everett: Or you put your mouths together like a regular kiss, and then put your tongues in each other’s mouths?
Me: Um. Yes. That.
Everett: Okay. I’m not disgusted. I’m just like, ‘okay.’
Me: How.. why… what just happened?
Everett: I just asked you about kissing.
Me: Oh.

**

Everett, on the way to Petsmart: When I have a pet, I don’t know which kind to get.
Me: Well, what’s important to you in a pet?
Everett: I want it to talk.
Me: You’ll have to have a parrot then. They’re expensive!
Everett: And I want to train it to sit and come.
Me: Oh. A dog does that… but not the talking…
Everett: And I want it to play with me, like pretend games and computer games.
Me: … Um. I think you don’t want a pet. You want another kid.
Everett: Yeah. How much to adopt one of those?

IMG 20150112 220923159 168x300 Best of Everett (Age X)

Ten Interesting Things: Monty’s Birthday Edition

In celebration of my son’s 14th birthday today, ten interesting things about his birth, his childhood, and himself.

Ten Interesting Things About Monty’s Birth

1. I went into labor while teaching at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. I finished the class and drove home. My contractions on the drive home were 5 minutes apart.

2. I was back in the classroom teaching two weeks later–with him in a sling, nursing. Loudly.

3. While waiting for my labor to get serious, we went to the store to buy snacks. In the pharmacy aisle, my labor got serious. I stood staring at a box of band-aids, trying not to look like I was about to drop a baby on their floor, all the while thinking I was about to drop a baby on the floor.

4. He was born at home, on purpose. When the midwife arrived, I asked if it was okay if I took off my pajamas. I was worried she would be offended by my nudity. It was probably the silliest thing I’ve ever worried about.

5. I had asked for a large wading pool so that I could have a water birth. Carey spent most of an hour rigging it and running hot water from the laundry room through a window. I got in it for one contraction, said “Nope, not for me” and never got back in again.

6. In the middle of one enormous, breath-taking contraction, something broke. It made a loud “pop” and it felt like my organs had shattered. I was so terrified that I threw up. It was some time before I could speak to ask the question to which the answer, in retrospect, is obvious: What broke? My water. Duh.

7. My friend Jill held my hand through the pushing stage. Toward the end, she kept saying, “You’re almost there! You’re so close!” and I kept thinking, “Shut up, you’ve been saying that for 20 minutes!”

8. Also toward the end, I got really, really loud. The ladies around me–Jill, my midwife, her assistant–called it my birth roar, and said how strong I was. I FELT strong when they said that.

9. I spent most of the labor on my knees. I couldn’t bear to lie down. Because I’d been working two jobs up to the very day of labor, I was exhausted. Toward morning, my knees and arms were shaking so badly the midwife wondered whether we might want to start talking about a hospital visit for an epidural and some sleep. Monty was born about thirty minutes later.

10. When he came out, he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Ten Interesting Things About Monty’s Early Childhood

1. His first word was “fish.”

2. Except for “fish” and “mommy,” most of his first “words” were actually complete phrases elided together.

3. As a baby and toddler, he hardly ever slept. I don’t mean that he’d only sleep for a few hours a night, I mean he would only sleep a few hours every week. It was so bad that when he did finally fall asleep, usually in the car on the way to some event, I would call up whomever we were meeting and tell them we weren’t going to make it. I would then pull over and sleep in the car for however long he would let me.

4. As a toddler, his favorite game was to walk around the side deck pushing a toy mower while somebody walked around behind him pushing another push toy.

5. I used to go through a drive through and order a milkshake for me and a water for him. Because they came in the same style cup, he thought we were drinking the same thing. I was sad when he figured it out.

6. We used to go to the toy store so he could play with the train sets. He loved it so much we could stay for three hours and when I was ready to go, I would still have to carry him out literally kicking and screaming.

7. I once let him carry my purse on one of our walks around the apartment complex. He decided to see what would happen if he dropped it in the pool as we walked by. What happened was that mommy’s phone was in it and mommy cried.

8. When he was three, he decided that “mommy” took way too long to say, and abbreviated my name to “moi.” This annoyed me. I birthed you, child. The least you can do is pronounce two dadgum syllables.

9. From a very young age, he had an uncanny ability to know what was going to happen next when there was no logical way he could know what was going to happen next. We’d read a book for the first time and he’d start talking about fire, and the next page would have a picture of a house on fire; we’d watch a movie for the first time and he’d start talking about snow, and the next scene would have snow. When we went to yard sales on Saturday mornings, I’d ask him what he hoped to find, and whatever he said he was looking for, we’d find at nearly every yard sale we went to.

10. The day that I was in labor with his first brother, I had a strong desire to spend quality time with just him. We went outside and I watched him kick a soccer ball around while my contractions washed over me, and it was lovely. I still love quality time with just him. Preferably minus the contractions.

Ten Interesting Things About Monty

1. He’s better at data entry and database QA than a lot of adults we’ve hired for the same work.

2. He once went hunting with his grandfather and on his first outing sighted his first pronghorn which became his first kill with his first shot.

3. He has a remarkable ability to connect with kids with conditions that are out of the ordinary. Following a visit to our home, a woman whose child has autism shared that her son had never talked so much to other kids as he did with Monty. A little girl in Colorado with a rare heart condition still talks about Monty several years after the weekend that he helped look out for her at my parents’ house. Etc.

4. He has a wicked sense of humor, with a solid dose of well-tuned sarcasm.

5. He never uses his sense of humor to hurt people.

6. The boy loves to read, and he’s good at it. Devours books like candy.

7. Speaking of candy, he’s not too crazy about chocolate. Weirdo.

8. He devotes at least half of every day to finding new ways to torture his brothers and the other half doing nice things for and with them. The third half he spends playing video games. He’s better at math than I am.

9. At least one girl I know of has had (may still have) a crush on him, and I’m not saying who. I’m hoping this tidbit will drive him crazy but he probably doesn’t care. Or he’ll pretend he doesn’t. He doesn’t really share the inner workings of his romantic life with his mother. Maybe he should think better of that.

10. Despite all her shortcomings, he still loves his mama and with all her heart his mama loves him.

10.5. He doesn’t have time to pose for pictures, Mo-om. Take it quick, while the game is loading. He’ll pretend to smile.

IMG 20150110 213913887 168x300 Ten Interesting Things: Montys Birthday Edition

 

On Regret

What do you think of when you think of regret? Me, I think of a tall, spindly man with unwashed hair ducking his head meekly under the assault of another man’s verbal attack. I think of a little girl in footie pajamas padding sleepily into a bar bathroom.

The man came in after closing, while I was pushing the Kirby up under the sticky tables, where half-chewed cocktail straws mocked my attempts to keep the vacuum running long enough to get my side work done so I could go home.

I only noticed him because our bouncer, a thickset guy with thin, curly long hair blowing out in a halo around his head, started yelling at him.

“This is no place for a little girl,” said the bouncer, loudly enough that I heard it over the Kirby’s whine. I shut it off.

“What do you think you’re doing, coming in here like that with her?” said the bouncer.

The man, recipient of the bouncer’s speech, was tall and angular, and bent over under the weight of the little girl on his shoulder. She clung to him, and he bent his head into her, his back bowed over slightly, meek under the bouncer’s assault.

“I know,” he said softly. “I’m sorry.”

I watched.

“She needs to use the bathroom,” he said. The little girl stirred on his shoulder. He set her down. “Please.”

The little girl disentangled herself, and the dad pointed to the dimly lit ladies room, where sticky toilet seats and yellow stained floors awaited my sponge and mop later. I watched her go, fighting the urge to go in with her, watch over her, make sure no harm came to her.

Would that be weird? To go in after her? Probably. Probably the dad would think I was some sort of predator, preying on the weak and vulnerable. Still. I took a few steps toward the bathroom. I watched the door. I willed her to be okay. Willed her to come back out into her daddy’s arms. I prayed for a relatively pee-free floor for her little stockinged feet to walk on.

The bouncer was still talking, beating the man down for coming in after hours, for being the kind of father who let his little girl walk into a filthy bar bathroom in the middle of the night.

The man stood with his head down, quiet and meek. When the bouncer asked him to account for himself, he said his house had been foreclosed on. That they were sleeping in the car. That she needed to go to the bathroom and this was the closest place that was open. That they didn’t have enough gasoline to go looking for some place better. He was sorry. He was so sorry.

That’s one thing about him: He was sorry.

Here’s two things about me:

1. I had $60 in tips in my pocket.

2. I was sorry too.

The little girl came pattering out of the bathroom. She was wearing a tattered blue robe over her footie pajamas, and rubbing sleep out of her eyes. Her long hair was tangled. She found her dad immediately and stumbled into his arms, fitted herself snugly into his shoulder. He lifted her.

I watched them go. I watched them walk out of the bar. The bouncer said, “Next time think of your daughter first.”

I stood and watched them go.

I had $60 in my pocket and I watched him walk out alone with his little girl cradled in his arms like the precious treasure she is, like a prize he cherished more than all the world and yet knew he was ultimately powerless to protect.

In the years since, I have thought about that scene over and over. I have examined it from every angle, inside and out. I turn it over in my head and try to make sense of it. I wonder why I didn’t go after him. What was I afraid of? The bouncer’s condescension? Losing my crappy job? Looking ridiculous?

I don’t know, but I think I mostly didn’t believe I had the power to actually make a difference. I think I didn’t believe in my own softness and hardness enough to know that the bouncer was wrong and I was right.

I think of that man walking out that door and out of my life, and I imagine an alternate ending.

In the alternate ending, I run out the bar door after him. It locks behind me because the bar is closed now, and I don’t care. I go into the night.

I say, “Excuse me? Sir?”

He stops and turns toward me, his head down, anticipating some new insult to his battered dignity.

I say, “I’m sorry about the bouncer. He’s like that to everyone.”

The man nods. He looks up at me under his bangs, and a weary almost-smile appears on his lips. He’s relieved and grateful for the kind words.

I say, “I don’t know if it will help, and I’m sorry I can’t do more but… well, here. Just—you know, I hope it helps.”

In this alternate version of events, I hand him the $60 in my pocket. It’s all wadded up because I want to make it as small as possible, because I don’t know if the offer will be a further insult to his dignity and I want it to seem just as small and insignificant as it possibly can be. I’m a little embarrassed.

I lean in close to place it in his hand without making him let go of his daughter.

I don’t know what happens next in this alternate version.

Maybe his face lights up because he’s so grateful. Maybe his head ducks down because he’s so embarrassed. Maybe he doesn’t even look at me but says “thank you” and turns away. Maybe I stand and watch him wrestle open the dented backdoor of a burgundy sedan.

I don’t know if he uses the money to get a motel room for a couple nights, or to buy groceries, or to buy gas so they can travel to family in another state.

I don’t know what the bouncer says to me when I bang on the bar door, and come back in to finish my shift. I don’t know if maybe I get fired. I don’t know if the bouncer turns his taunts on me and I spend the rest of the night feeling foolish.

All I know is that in this alternate version, that tall bent-over man carries away a little cash and a lot of knowing that somebody cares what happens to him and his daughter.

Also in this version, the little girl has something too. She doesn’t understand it yet, but what she has is a vision. It’s a vision of light shining in darkness, of help coming when it is least expected. It’s a vision that may carry her through the days to come, even as her daddy’s arms carry her through the darkness of the night.

In this version, my pocket yields a sliver of hope and the night carries a shard of light and a father reclaims a moment of dignity. I don’t know much, but I know that it is an ending devoutly to be wished.