Friday, October 13, 2017

birthday delights...

It is a crisp, dry autumn day in the Berkshire. In a few hours we'll take the train into Manhattan - and a cab to Brooklyn - to celebrate the fourth birthday of our grandson Louie. He now has a strong and vibrant baby sister, Antonia, whom we can't wait to get to know better, too. If the weather holds, we'll all party in the park tomorrow before heading back home for worship. If the weather is against us, the celebration moves to the family's brownstone in Sunset Park. Wherever we wind up, it will be a delight.

My heart rejoices in two truths today.  First, it is a blessing and privilege to live this close to the extended family. It was complicated and expensive to enter into the ordinary celebrations of the year when we were in Tucson. I loved every minute of being in that magical place. We nourished friendships that continue to last beyond the limits of time and space - we'll be there in mid-January for a bit of sunshine - but we always missed our loved ones on the East Coast. Now, in these later years with my approaching retirement, we are close enough to regularly connect for dinners, birthday and holidays. Sometimes, just because we miss one another, too.

And second, the older I become, the faster time moves - especially for little lives like Louie and Antonia. My computer is filled with pictures documenting my grandson's growth - and changes - starting with our first meeting in Maimonides Hospital a day after his arrival and continuing through our recent trip to give momma a wee break a few weeks ago at the start of Rosh Hashanna. I pray that we will have a comparable cache of pictures of dear Antonia as the years unfold, as well.  

My father, who passed three years ago this week, used to tell me he cherished being Granddad. "It is a whole new way of loving," he once said in an unusually candid moment of vulnerability. After a pause, he added, "You'll love it, too." He was right.

Footsteps on stairs, 
little feet pounding, running, 
child faces peeking round the kitchen door,
 expectancy alive, dancing in their eyes. 
They know that love is always here 
waiting just for them. 

Each one thinks he is favorite; 
in his or her own way, it is true. 
Each is the most special 
not for anything they say or do, 
just for being. 

We have our rituals - breakfast French toast and bacon, 
back rubs and funny faces, 
movie nights, 
ice cream after church, 
backyard camp outs, 
lots of love, laughter. 

Happy takes me by surprise 
each time I look 
in my grandchild’s eyes.
(Faye Lanham Gibson)

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