Brian Rea, NYT

Brian Rea, New York Times, 2011

Four years ago, I sat in bed on Sunday morning and, in a state of disbelief and incredible gratitude, read my essay in the New York Times. The Times’ editor gave the piece the title, “Fury Cannot Touch Me.”

The title seemed overly dramatic to me but as years have passed, I see it as the essence of being a grandparent. Being the port in the storm and not being in the storm or causing the storm is the beauty part and the hard part of being a grandparent. It’s important that the fury not touch me or the people who seek my shelter.

Not that it is always easy. It has required a redefining of my lane in life, of what is my business and what isn’t. Hard challenge for someone who used to feel that everything fell in her job description. I had an opinion about everything and no hesitation to express it. It sometimes put me in the thick of things when I should have been reading a good novel somewhere off to the side.

My lane narrows and that’s good. It also has fewer on-ramps and that’s good. And my people have their own lives to live and that’s good.  Still I watch the weather very closely, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I’m proud of this piece of writing but prouder still of what I learned writing it. Writing’s like that, sorts out things that seem messy or unrelated, puts borders and sense around things, shows the way for the future. That’s what I love about it.

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“Fury Cannot Touch Me,” Modern Love, New York Times, September 29, 2011