Threat to National Security

I am willing to concede that I may be a threat to some. After all, Avery barely survived Gramma’s visit.

I didn’t intend harm. Really, I didn’t. I was delighted when she crawled on my lap before she’d even changed out of her pajamas on the first morning I visited. (Granted, the new book I brought was probably more enticing than Gramma herself, but all is fair in grandparenting as far as I am concerned.)

And, my goal was to give both she and Paige my full attention during my short visit to their home in California. That should have ensured their safety. However, I realize now I probably wasn’t adequately prepared for the girls’ confidence  (i.e., dare devil temperament).

About the third day they were under my supervision, they decided to see how high they could climb on the playground equipment in their backyard. They made it to the top in no time, and discovered falling into Gramma’s arms was great fun.

In my defense, I did caution them each time one of the girls started climbing, “Wait for Gramma.” On the first day, they did exactly that, and fun was had by all. On the second day, my heart nearly stopped when Avery reached the top, smiled, released the bars and proceeded to fall forward without the safety net of Gramma’s arms. 

I figured my life was over one way or another. Either I was going to die on the spot from the horror of seeing my grandchild die before my eyes, or Sara was going to kill me because I’d failed to adequately care for her precious daughters. Fortunately, I was wrong about my prospects.

Avery was dazed by the fall, but not injured. After she sought the comfort of her favorite blanket — named Yellow, a blanket I knitted for her before she was even born — she was ready to climb again. She had learned, though, to wait for Gramma, and there were no further accidents on the playground equipment.

However, the next day, she took a tumble while playing with a trike she had received for her birthday. I knew instantly the fall required intervention. Parents, grandparents and others who’ve been around children develop a second-sense about those things — probably because they recognize that silent, breathless cry of pain which cannot be faked.

As soon as I picked Avery up, I could see the bruise and bump that were beginning to form. I headed for the kitchen to get some ice, but discovered the rough and tumble kid wasn’t nearly as excited about putting ice on the bump as Gramma was.

In order to achieve my objective, I suggested we watch Sesame Street. She and Paige wanted to watch football instead. (They could say “touchdown” before they could say “Gramma.” I strongly suspect their dad’s influence in that.) I was firm, though, and we all sat down to watch Sesame Street where the letter of the day was T.

By now, it’s probably obvious why some might consider me a threat. However, I don’t  understand why the Transportation Safety Administration is among that number. I’ve begun to think the Department of Homeland Security has reason to believe the next terrorist attack on our nation will come from an overweight woman in late middle age who walks with a slight limp.

Everytime I fly, I am stopped going through security. On my most recent trip, my right wrist was patted down (“No, ma’am, I’m not wearing a watch”) in the Rapid City airport and my abdomen was patted down in Sacramento (“Yes, ma’am,  that’s all me”). That’s actually the third time I’ve been stopped to have my abdomen patted down. I suppose I could take it as a rather blatant hint I need to go on a diet.

However, I’ve also been stopped because I frequently travel with pastels just in case the opportunity to do some sketching arises. (I take them out of my bag now and put them in a tray.) I’ve been stopped because I had scrapbooking supplies in my bag. (I suppose it’s theoretically possible to injure someone with a glue runner, but I’m not skilled at improvising weapons out of innocuous items.)

I’ve been stopped to have my ankle patted down, though I’m not quite sure why limping is suspicious. Perhaps, my behavior is suspicious. I listened to the gal who checked my ID tell me about her sleepless night and colicky infant, and I helped an elderly woman carry her bag because it was clear she was overwhelmed.

Maybe caring about others somehow poses a danger to our society. It’s hard to know with so much classified under the Patriot Act. Whatever the reason, I have decided not to let the inconvenience of being stopped going through security prevent me from flying, especially since that’s the fastest way to close the distance between me and my grandgirls.

Maybe they’ll survive my next visit unscathed. At least, I’ll be better prepared.


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