So, I was just spending time reading one of my newest favorite blogs, How To Be A Dad, when I came across their post called Your Heart Will Throw Up In Your Brain. It includes a YouTube video that shows a man catching a boy who falls 15 feet off an escalator.
What I love about this post is what the writer chose to focus on: This could have been any parent. Maybe they’re oblivious, absorbed in the sale section of some store or junior was lured away by a flashing light. We don’t know. But what we do know, is that some of you are the “catchers” in life, the people and parents doing good deeds because they desperately need doing. Trying. Striving. Catching.
This got me thinking about some of the Catchers in my life, particularly in my parenting life. Catchers come in the most unlikely places, really. And that’s the beauty of it. A good Catcher doesn’t even think twice about it. It’s just in their nature to act, and act in the best interest of others.
My family has been living in a very small Portland neighborhood for about five years now. To be honest, this was not the neighborhood I wanted to live in. I acted like a total Little Asshole about leaving our last house that was in a ritzy-titzy part of town even though it was making us mortgage poor and causing marital strife.
I hated the fact that the house we were going to move into had Astroturf on the front step. I hated the 1980s decor and the cream-colored carpet that would be destroyed by my children. Most of all, I hated the fact that we were moving into a lower-income neighborhood. What would the neighbors be like? What would we do about the Astroturf? Essentially I was being a totally judgmental, entitled jerk.
Within a few weeks of moving into our new house
and spying on the neighbors I started to notice that people on our street actually spend time working on their yards (as opposed to hiring a gardener). They plant beautiful peonies and wildflowers. One neighbor grows snap peas in her front yard for the neighborhood kids to pick and eat every summer. These folks are outside, visible, waving to each other. They even talk to each other. Hell, they even know each other’s names! In our old neighborhood this neighborly intimacy was absent.
Before long I met the family directly across the street. I immediately liked all four of them, but I was especially taken by Corie. She has two beautiful, smart girls, a really nice, talented husband and even a great dog (who is the patient recipient of my amorous dog’s sexual fetishism). I’ll admit I was a tad intimidated by her intelligent wit, sense of humor and just youthful cool. She had her shit together while I was feeding a colony of squirrels from the food that fell out of my minivan every time the door slid open.
How To Be A Dad‘s post reminded me of Corie because she has been our Catcher in more ways than one. When a group of juvenile delinquents from across the river broke into a couple of homes on our street, Corie noticed the suspicious behavior and called the police. It is this type of neighborly vigilance that I love. She has an eye out for whats going on in our neighborhood. She is a Catcher. The fact that she lives across the street from me gives me an immeasurable feeling of safety.
One warm summer day when I was out running errands (acting like a crazy person at Target) my husband was gardening in the backyard. He was “keeping an eye” on the toddler who was “helping.” I only know the story from Corie’s point of view because it was Corie who, from her bedroom window, saw our tiny boy making a mad dash away from our house down the sidewalk to the park. I think she said he was “booking it.”
Being the Catcher that she is, Corie saved the day and made sure the runner got back home safely. (And if my memory serves, she may have done this for us twice. But my husband denies this possibility.)
Corie also delivers warm home-baked cookies, meals (like when our baby–the runner–was born), advice about household safety, great stories about waxing (we still need to discuss the FUPA), a strong drink, and friendship when I was least expecting it. I am so lucky that we moved into this house, in this neighborhood and met one of those people who is a true Catcher (and I know she’ll deny it, because that’s how Catchers roll).