‘Protect the football’

My literal little girl. Photo by Brookelyn's Pix (click image for more info)

Lately, my work schedule has been such that I only get to see Keira for an hour or two in the morning, and when I get home at night, she and Megan are already asleep. So when it’s time to give Keira her overnight feedings, I’ve gladly taken on the role of waking her up and giving her a diaper check before Megan feeds her. 

It still amazes me how tiny our 6-week-old is. It feels like I’m picking up a little doll, and it’s still very satisfying to feel her move around in my arms. (As new parents, we still get paranoid when our little girl sleeps and is lying still too long — we put a hand close to her face to make sure she’s still breathing, or gently rock her and breathe our own sigh of relief when she throws her arms up reflexively.) 

Keira is the perfect size for me to hold in one arm, or to rest her on my legs when I put them up on the coffee table. I’m trying to make sure I can cherish these times when she’s so conveniently sized that I can carry her around like a football. (Coincidentally, that’s also the position Megan uses for nursing her.) 

Keira--still laptop-sized!

It’s also funny how Megan and I see Keira as being bigger now, at nearly 7 pounds, compared to 5 pounds, 14 ounces when she was born. But when others see her, they are amazed at how tiny she is — most of her cousins were more than 7 pounds when they were born! (The average newborn weight is 7 pounds 8 ounces.) 

Now, when I see my nieces, nephew or friends’ little ones, I’m amazed at how “big” they are compared to Keira, especially their hands. Which makes Keira seem all the more precious and fragile! 

And I know it’s just a matter of time that I won’t be able to hold her securely in one arm like a football, or have her lounging on my legs. But even if she won’t be pigskin-sized, rest assured I’ll be protecting her like the ‘football’ that accompanies the President of the United States. I first learned about this at a dinner party held by my friend Charlie Becker, executive director of Camp Courageous and a big-time presidential history buff. 

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Keith Davids carries the "football," foreground, containing nuclear codes, Monday, April 18, 2005, at the White House. (Associated Press photo)

The guest speaker was a former Secret Service agent who talked (limitedly, of course — they are called the “Secret” Service) about what his job was like. I asked what the briefcase that they carry around with the president was for, and that’s when I first heard it was called the football. Simply put, with all the supremely important information and capabilities that were in there, “you do NOT lose the football.” 

In sports, if you lose the football, it’s a turnover and you get booed, but your team usually will get the ball back and still have a chance to try and win the game. Losing the presidential football, however, could lead to a turnover of the entire human race. So, you do NOT lose that football. 

Which brings me back to my little football, which I consider to be more important than anything else out there. Because this football — this ever-growing football — is all mine. I only get one shot at protecting her, and I’m going to do it right.

Shhh, the football's sleeping...

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~ by davidllee on April 4, 2010.

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