Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

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Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

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Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

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Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
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Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

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Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

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Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

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Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

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flight

William Henderson William Henderson bird-girl searcher. poetic papa. avery-catcher.

William Henderson lives outside Boston with his children. He blogs about love and other unexplainable forces, tweets about books and parenting, and rarely reads directions. He still wanders in cemeteries, and often gets lost. [www.hendersonhouseofcards.com]

william_henderson_feature

My son, Avery, four going on 14, all slamming doors and defiance. Glimpses of his sweet-baby self, usually at night, when he should be in bed. Climbing on my back, wrapping his arms around my neck, and asking me if I know how much he loves me, and if I know he loves me more today than he did yesterday.

Love, when you’re four going on 14, something to which you can add and subtract. His arithmetic, a balance between reassurance and reassuring; the resulting sum, with its meaning, of the relationship between father and son.

Not long ago – or long ago, when every day is filled with battles and daredevil stunts and bruises in the shape of doorknobs and counter edges – Avery and I getting lost in cemeteries. We were hunting angels. Bird-girls, Avery called them. Most carved from granite, wings outstretched, hands clasped together. We’d go from bird-girl to bird-girl, and Avery, then two, would try to climb the angels. Somewhere, between ankle and wing, Avery would get scared and ask me to get him.

“Don’t let me fall, daddy,” he’d say.

“I’d never let you fall,” I told him.

There are several angels at Mount Auburn Cemetery and three in Concord, Massachusetts, near the home where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. Some of the angels have missing feathers; other angels have scars where pieces have eroded over the years. One angel at Mount Auburn is missing her nose. I like how granite always feels cold.

Sometimes he stretched his arms away from his body and moved them up and down, mimicking flight.

“Two hands, Daddy,” Avery said. “Hold Avery’s hands with two hands.”

Now, four going on 14, no longer interested in cemeteries. “Kind of creepy, daddy,” he says. I don’t think he really knows the meaning of the word creepy.

He, on my back, arms wrapped around my neck. “Do you know how much I love you?” I ask him, and he, still on my back, twisting his body so that our foreheads and eyelashes kiss.

“This much,” Avery says, stretching his arms wide.

“No,” I say. “This much.”

I stretch my arms, which reach farther than Avery’s growing wingspan. He, on my back, teetering, aiming to keep his balance, sort of flying.

Moments – granite angels, cemetery gates, a boy in flight – becoming meaningful, after.

William Henderson

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