The Great Protector

Beth Mende Conny, Julia Conny, motherhood, essays, parenting

Julie and the Great Protector

Sometimes Julie wakes in the night. There’s a bad man in her dream or the backfire of a car, and she calls, cries out to me: “Come, come. I’m scared.”

It’s all I can do to get up. Like a sunken vessel being pulled from the deep, I rise slowly. My feet touch ground as I grab my robe and struggle to find the arms, then the belt. I make my way down the short hall to her room. She’s under the covers whimpering, too scared to sit up, afraid of the dark or perhaps the cold that comes when you wake suddenly.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, sitting beside her, trying to open my eyes, focus on her face.

“I’m scared,” she says pitifully.

“What are you scared of?”

Sometimes she can tell me, sometimes she can’t because she’s already slipping back into sleep. Either way, her fear has dissipated. Like a flash of light, I have entered her room, chased the shadows away and exorcized her demons. The world has become safe again for democracy and little girls. I’m faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap flights of stairs in a single bound when I hear my sweetheart cry. Read more

Windshield duet

Writer Beth Mende Conny's meditationRainy and cold, in the 50s but feels like the 30s. Grey skies have a way of deceiving the body.

Bundled in a heavy jacket, I sit in my car waiting for the light to change. My iTouch is playing, but I don’t know the song’s name or artist. It’s one of those wild-card songs a friend has passed along and swears I will love, even though she, herself, doesn’t know the singer or title. But it’s a catchy, indeed, sunny tune, and for a moment my windshield wipers swish to its beat.

I love when this happens, this sudden alignment of music and mechanics. For a few seconds, life feels purposeful, everything in sync. Magical.

But then the light changes and my wipers get wacky, and I’m back to feeling cold. Nonetheless, I know that if I am patient and attentive, I’ll hear the wipers cycle back and play in time to the music, a miraculous duet.