As Sharon snuggled into my shoulder and we waited for the
“coming on part” to end, I breathed a deep, contented sigh. In a few minutes, I was answering questions.
“Mommy, why are all those little tiny planes flying next to the big one?”
“Well, sweetie, the little ones are called fighter planes, which is what this move is all about. Remember the title? The fighter planes stay close to the big cargo planes because the big planes are too big to turn around fast. When enemy planes come near, the fighter planes turn around and fight to keep them away.”
“Oh, I see.”
I was grateful for the chance to look wise in her eyes and grateful I could help her build a basic understanding of some aspects of the adult world she would soon enter.
“Just like Daddy,” I thought, “and how he used to explain things to us kids on family vacation trips, things like how truck drivers blinked their lights on high beam for a few seconds to let cars following them know it was okay to pass on a two-lane highway, and how, once the car passed, the driver blinked his lights, too, to say thank you to the truck driver. ”
I smiled as I thought about my dad and realized how much he and my mom had lived by the principles I’d discovered so recently. I had rarely heard them complain. They had lived with a family of five, in a tiny house, for five years before buying the 3 bedroom home I remembered moving to at the end of third grade. They had never spoken with envy of families with bigger houses and yards and the so-called finer things.
Best of all, we had fun when we were together, whether it was Saturday night hamburgers Daddy fixed on the grill or playing slap jacks and Monopoly around the rickety table in the beach-side cottage we rented one summer vacation.
I pulled Sharon closer to me and craned my head to kiss the top of her head. Accustomed to such spontaneous displays of affection, Sharon responded with an absent-minded kissing sound.
“Love you, too, Mommy.” She never took her eyes off the dog fight between the Americans and the enemy.
“Why do they call them dog fights, Mommy?”
I smiled. I had so much to be grateful for. How could I complain?