Grandson Silas turned 3 on December 16. This is a date, I’m embarrassed to say, that I had to look that up because it’s one of three Big Ones that come on successive days. Hannah’s birthday is the 15th, Silas’ the 16th, and my father died on Dec. 17.

The photo of Silas is from last November. I love it, but what do I know? I’m his grandfather!

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He truly is an exceptional kid.

Exceptional, of course, is almost always used as a ringing positive, but there can be a subtle undercurrent to exceptional. To be exceptional is to be unusual, to be out of the norm. Exceptional can create distance. Distance can create separation. Separation can be dangerous.

Lissa and Brian have thought a lot about this and are doing their best to create an environment for Silas that includes a diversity of other kids. They are working hard to make sure that Silas feels safe and included.

I’m not exactly proud to say that when I was a parent of three year-old Lissa I didn’t work nearly as hard on safeguarding her social environment as she is on safeguarding Silas’, but that’s the truth. But I think it’s also the truth that Susan and I worked harder to protect Lissa and Hannah than our parents did on protecting us, and that our parents probably worked harder to protect us than their parents did to protect them.

Parental responsibility to protect their children has changed a lot over the last 100 years. I shudder to think of what it will feel like to try and protect one’s children 100 years from now.

 

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