Babies are dependent on us as parents, grandparents and as the villagers upon which life’s safe sailing is assured. Our own future depends on them. Loving, nurturing and providing safe and enriching lives for them is what gives us our end of passage through life meaning. Born of compassion and care, the likes of which we showered on them, showers us.
Within hours of her birth I held all 7lbs. 14ozs. of new life in my arms and wondered if she’ll live to a hundred. What will she experience, what will she see in a future I can’t even imagine. What will she become, how mindful will she be of this precious world we live in. That I live long enough for her to remember how much she is loved by me, and how I so looked forward to her being a part of our lives, tugs at my heart.
The profundity of loving a grandchild is, I think, based on the lack of time we get to share with them. Time to learn their hopes and dreams and time to help steer their life’s voyage towards fulfilling ports and prophecies is fleeting.
I was a lucky baby, my grandparents were a part of my life until my own children were born. The wisdom and influence of those old folks, who were younger than I am now, was tremendous. At home, I was the much-loved daughter of two people struggling just like everybody else to survive and thrive. At my grandparents, I was simply adored.
At home I was on a diet, at Nana’s the candy jar was on the coffee table and always full. Funny how knowing I could reach in and take candy anytime I wanted, meant I seldom did. At home, we had structure, had to be with two parents working in a time when mothers often stayed home. At Nana’s structure was based on five words: “Be a kid, have fun.” At home, yelling; at Nana’s, discussion. At home questions; at Nana’s feelings.
I was never punished by my grandparents, never yelled at by them. My behavior was based on the credo that I could be me, and consequences were drawn on the belief that if I misbehaved it was because I was simply a kid, unless I did something really wrong, which I never did. At their houses I could be who I was, not what my parents thought was best for me to be. Everyone in our immediate family, and in our village of extended family, friends and community set the right boundaries and offered unending opportunity. From Donna Reed to Gloria Steinem, was a great and exciting time for a young girl to grow up.
In the very scary world of today I am hoping and praying this new little girl will be able to sail through life with the wind of all of us at her back, pushing just enough for her journey to be fun, exciting and filled with the kind of enrichments which grow a good person. Our new little bundle of joy, and her toddler cousin, sustain the continued hope that this time, again, we got it right.
Welcome Penelope May Dubreuil. My Sweet P. The world awaits you.