Living between resist and retreat

I began the year with the modest expectation and fervent hope that the damage from Calamity Trump would not be so bad. Alas, in short order my worst fears were realized. We did, indeed, elect a toxic combination of arrogance and ignorance to the highest office in the land.

A survival strategy was essential. Options included resistance or retreat. It was too cold to march, and Oak Parkers had resistance covered without me. Yet curling up in the fetal position waiting for the buffoonery to stop was not appealing. I was lost, but then I was found.

My way forward was there all the time: My grandchildren. I am blessed with five of them — Lily (9), Ava (6), Cole (3), Teddy (2) and Hazel (.25). They don’t know or care about Trump or Mueller. They are indifferent to the tax cut. They do not have experience with harassment or discrimination. They do not have strong opinions about global warming, abortion or the war on terror.

Yet their lives are very rich and filled with lots of great experiences, which they share with me. On Tuesdays, we grandparent in Glen Ellyn. There Lily and I discuss her newfound joy in reading chapter books. I remember and share that joy with her. Ava shows me her weekly artwork, and I marvel that I have never seen the world as she sees it. We trampoline, engage in water warfare, hide-and-seek — all the things I loved to do as a kid and did with my sons. Now I get to do them again. Marsha accuses me of being like Peter Pan. Guilty as charged. 

Their younger brother Cole entertains all of us with his 3-year-old takes on life, his fearlessness and his joy in living, evidenced by jumping up and down in place for minutes at a time. He definitely lives in the present. He does not regret the past or worry about the future.

We visit Teddy in Lakeview, where we grandparent on Mondays. We play hide-and-seek. His skills are evolving. He no longer hides in plain sight. We roam Wrigleyville in search of trucks. Garbage trucks are the equivalent of the ornithologist’s bald eagle. He is always glad to see me. He gladdens my heart.

And then there is Hazel. Three months old. So little. So sweet. Yet so real. She reminds me that we all need the help and love of others to survive in this world.

So I didn’t resist. I didn’t retreat. With the invaluable assistance of my grandchildren, I remembered what is truly important to me. 

I’m ready for 2018. Bring it on.

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...