9.24.2010

Henry and His Fear

My dog--whom I often refer to as my son-- has developed a bizarre neurosis. He refuses to walk over a series of harmless grates in the hallway of his mother's house. There is something so indelibly human about watching a hundred and thirty-five pound animal be afraid of crossing a grate. His size, majesty, and strength do not make him immune to irrational fear. It makes me shiver. How can I reassure him that the world is safe? Something has shaken him to the core of his big heart.  I do not envy fathers. Their task is too large. I say I'm Henry's father, but I abandoned him. What kind of father am I? I left him on a doorstep two thousand miles away. I chose creativity over my little, broken family. Now he is terrified of a hallway. I want to tell him that I'm scared too; when I take out the garbage at night, I hurry back to the door. 

     Henry,

Take care of your mom. Listen to her when she walks you. You're bigger than she is. Respect that. 

The world is a tough place. But, it's never as bad as we imagine it. What is important is to face your fears. I just wish I could be there with you to help you face yours. I can't. I'm here. I'm sorry, Baby Boy. This will be your first birthday alone. You'll be four (28 in your years) now which makes you almost my age. If I had any good advice, I'd give it to you, but I haven't quite figured out this late twenties thing either. 

Watching you play with other dogs gives me such a kick. The way you play so gingerly with the smaller animals is a testament to your character and heart. One thing though: don't take the other dogs' toys.  They don't realize that you just want them to chase you. You love to be chased. Don't we all?

Be brave, Little Guy. You're a small lion. 

I'm proud of you.  

Love, 
Nick

4 comments :