It was a blessed time...

It did my heart good to spend time with my loved ones today... Jesse and her husband got into town on Saturday evening so we had a lot of time to talk, cook, catch up and enjoy one an other's company and insights. She just completed her MA in Library Science (she finished her MA in Education 7 years ago) and we haven't visited since January. With another month to go before middle school is Brooklyn, NY is done this was a nice break from the city and a total treat for the old man. 
Michal and her loved ones arrived early this afternoon and joined us in feasting, bocce ball and sharing lots and lots of laughter. She's farming as well as writing and working for UMass as the associate director of communications for the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA.)  We met their goats and chickens two weeks ago when we finally got to visit their new digs. It was a treat to share this sweet summer day with these two women and their cherished partners.
Over the years we've all changed:  we've shared celebrations and sorrows, weddings and divorces, times of uncertainty along with encounters of profound trust and compassion. For a long time we lived half way across the US and could only spend Christmas or periodic holidays together. We know what a wonderful gift it is to now live reasonably close to our adult children. Time is sacred and should never be taken for granted: life is just too short, uncertain and complex.
So at the close of days like today, after the feasting is finished and both girls have returned to their private lives and homes, my soul sometimes drifts towards the opening lines of this poem by Yeats he called "A Prayer for My Daughter."

I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And under the arches of the bridge, and scream
In the elms above the flooded stream;
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come,
Dancing to a frenzied drum,
Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.

May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger's eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.

Because it is a privilege to celebrate with my loved ones - daughters, partners and wife - I want to honor what time remains in the joy we share as a gift from God.  (I also find myself singing this tune in my heart - it comes from the slightly warped perspective of a father - and doesn't pretend to capture the complexity of what happens between real fathers and daughters.  But, it is still a bunch of fun and rings true, too.)

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