Changing Of The Guard


My youngest daughter has always been my greatest protector. I am not alone in that regard. Her brother was once involved in a minor traffic accident and from a thousand miles away she harassed everyone in the family until he went to the emergency room to get checked out. He was fine, except for the $200 deductible he shelled out but there would have been no peace had he not gone.

Her mother and I divorced when she was a preteen and sometimes I wouldn’t see her for days and when I traveled for business, up to 5–6 weeks. Whenever I saw her next she would always inspect me up and down, always noticing any new scratch I might have obtained since I saw her last. In those days I played a lot of basketball including in a church sponsored league where I often took her with me to my games. Despite the religious affiliations of most of the teams, many of the games were quite physical and as my team’s center, I received (and dished out) my fair share of contact. When one particular team which included their church pastor and several deacons, went too far in my daughter’s eyes. She yelled out, “Bow ’em daddy!”

Years have gone by and my daughter now has children of her own, demanding much of her attention. I was at the Birthday Party of her 1-year-old at which her 5-year-old daughter scraped her arm when playing outside and came in crying. I called her to me and comforted her, negotiating cleaning her wound first before applying a band-aid which she was convinced was “going to hurt.” The wound got cleaned and bandaged up, the crying had almost stopped when suddenly she noticed a cut on my thumb she hadn’t seen before. She asked, “What happened?” I told her I had accidentally cut myself with a knife cutting some peppers.

“Did it hurt?”

“A little bit, I cleaned it and put on a band-aid just like yours.”

“Be careful papa!”

“I will… you too!”

She got down and went back outside to play. My daughter never noticed the cut on my finger, something she wouldn’t have missed at one time. But her daughter had taken on the responsibility. Should any new injuries present themselves, there will always be some explaining to do.