A Different Sort of Badge

For twenty years, I wore the badge of a police officer on the East Providence Police Department. Wearing that badge never seemed a burden, and I wore it with pride.

But now, all these years after my retirement from those days, I get to wear an even more important badge.

It isn’t gold or silver or shiny. It takes on many forms and shapes, often showing up in places one wouldn’t expect to find a badge. But it is, to me, the most important badge I have ever worn.

My wife and I have the great fortune of spending much of our day caring for our grandson, Levi, while his parents plod their way through to an onerous, but necessary, workday. While caring for a 6-month-old has its challenges, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Each day, when one gets to experience life through the eyes, smiles, screams, and facial expressions of an infant—especially the ones we recognize as portents of an artistically filled diaper with all its otherworldly colors and consistencies—it opens a window on a whole new world.

Through my sixty-five-year-old eyes, while I strive to hold on to imagination and wonder, so many things have passed by me, I often miss the simple majesty of a leave falling from a tree, or a squirrel burying acorns, or a stuffed animal, animated in my hands, which brings the look of wonder to Levi’s eyes.

Levi makes the world new again.

When he needs something, even absent the power of speech, he can use his powers of persuasion to sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully, lead you to the solution, be it food, a clothing change, or nap time. He does this without words and is better at communication than most people I know.

We learn to be creative in our entertaining skills. While he comes equipped with a plethora of toys and equipment to engage him, we have sometimes found a solution in the most unlikely of activities.

The sound of fingernails scrapped along the couch, something so new to his ears as to border on fascinating, will hold his attention. Or a new game I invented called, “Rolled up newspaper smashing,” where I take a few pages of a grocery store ad, roll it up and whack things — myself, the table, Levi’s legs—something that causes waves of giggling, chortling delight for him.

My only fear is, if he remembers such antics after he gains the power of speech, he may someday tell a story in school about how his grandfather would hit him with a rolled-up newspaper. Context might be lost and I might have some ‘splaining to do.

And the badge, you might ask? Inevitably, after being fed, Levi sometimes sends some of his meal back out into the world and on to me. It has become, for me, a new badge of honor. And while I don’t parade it around for more than the time to wipe it off, I wear it with pride.

All Levi has to do is smile, which he does almost all the time, and all is right with the world. I will bear those daily badges proudly and remember them fondly all the days of my life.


JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.


All the stages of raising a child from birth to adulthood have a distinctive experience about them.

From the first time a newborn’s face smiles in obvious recognition to seeing you, to their first words, their first steps, their first insistence on independence, each brings a sense of both immense joy and a bit of sorrow with each passing moment.

There is no greater achievement in life than to play a part in its continuity.


It is a bittersweet experience raising a child, overwhelming at first until they become less dependent, when you realize how much you loved each moment of their total reliance on you. This change is subtle but relentless, until the day comes when you realize, while they will always be your child, they are no longer a child.

There is much satisfaction in seeing what was once such a tiny, fragile life go on out into the world and you know, as best as anyone can in this uncertain life, that they are now more than capable to thrive without you.

While we all knew this was the goal from the moment of birth, it doesn’t make the transition any easier.

Nothing brings this home more than the first time you see your child caring for their own little child. All those moments come rushing back in torrents of memories, tugging at your heart as you recall those times.

And yet this metamorphosis also brings with it a great sense of happiness, while your baby is no longer the child that depended on you for everything, she has become the most consequential of humans, a mother to a child,

There is no greater achievement in life than to play a part in its continuity.