“Now that I have kids, I’m probably more overprotective than I’ve ever been. My wife’s nickname for me is ‘Red Alert.’ I sometimes check to see if the kids are breathing. But I try not to be a helicopter parent.“
- Matt Damon
What do Matt and Bob share in common? Where to begin?
Actually, it’s a somewhat limited list. Matt and I are both overprotective.
It is not a trait I have chosen. It just ... evolved over time.
It began with the birth of my three beautiful nieces and has grown exponentially with the arrival of their seven children. I am ... smitten.
I’ve been known to peruse problems that don’t exist, dangers that mysteriously disappear. I’m constantly imagining worst-case scenarios.
Why such concern?
I was vacationing on the beach with my three nieces, their parents and grandparents. Laura, the youngest of the girls, was 2 or 3 at the time.
We had just set our toes in the sand and I decided to share a joke. Just as I finished to a round of rousing laughter my sister inquired calmly, “Where’s Laura?”
I quickly executed a 360 in the sand and searched for my youngest niece. I could feel my blood pressure rise from serene to obscene.
Laura was nowhere to be found.
I raced into the surf and searched the water. Again, Laura was nowhere to be found.
Just when my head was ready to explode my sister stated matter-of-factly, “There she is.”
She was playing behind a flat, sandy platform of sorts. Everyone released a collective chuckle.
With the exception of yours truly.
I was shivering and shaking like a feeble twig in a hurricane. My sister ushered me to a chair and instructed me to take deep breaths. Blood was pulsating in my temple.
“Calm down,“ my sister instructed. “Everything will be fine.”
It took another 30 minutes before I could relax and feel fully at peace.
Still, I worry when I am designated the official guardian. One needs to go to the restroom at McDonald’s, then they all must go. I won’t take my eye off the herd for a second. Someone may kidnap them, but it won’t be on my watch.
The same was true for my beloved bassets Brooke Lynn and Emerson. They were invariably on a leash and my mom persistently insisted I spent more money on quality healthcare for them than myself.
I couldn’t argue.
Facts are difficult to dispute.
When asked what sport I preferred my great-nephews to play, I quipped, “Guitar.”
Significantly safe and mellow.
What can I say? I am hopelessly smitten.
Photo: Uncle Bob keeps an eye on Laura Beth
Contact Columnist Bob Bridge at 812-276-9646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.