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Posted By Opening the Heart

      ...And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know

        the place for the first time.   T.S. Eliot

So I turn around and know that I will soon begin my seventh decade. Yes, they're all true- all the cliches- like "it seems just such a short while ago" I was swimming through my father's legs in the ocean at Nantasket Beach; or "It really has gone by so fast". And now I'm a grandfather of two of the most delightful dancing Beings of Light: Ivy, eighteen months and Marlowe, two and a half years. Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with stories about how cute or incredibly bright they are. When people my age that I haven't seen for a while learn I'm a grandfather, almost every time they say "Isn't it just the best!?" Well, just between you and me, no, it isn't the best. It's great, yes, but the best? No. What's the best, for me, is watching my son and daughter each parent their little girl.

I think that when any one of us is born, that life begins an arc, a journey, if you will.  That beginning marks the start of a circle. Any arc, mathematicians tell us, eventually comes back to itself, completing a circle. And my belief is that there is something hopeful, redemptive even, about a circle being completed. It's both quite simple and beautiful.

I watched my daughter, Abby, one evening giving Marlowe her dinner. Marlowe is smart, beautiful and loving. At this particular dinner time she was also exhausted. Some parents call it "breakdown time". She finished eating what she wanted and then decided she wanted something else that was not on the dinner menu, so she, understandably, began a tantrum. Watching Abby hold her ground in a loving and skillful way was amazing: "Lovey, throwing food is not okay! Just say 'All done' and we can go take a warm bath. Do you want to give Bunny or Baby a bath, too?" Abby never lost her cool, never yelled, kept to her reasonable limits and held the love between them.

On another day, I was reading outside and 20 feet away I was aware of my son, Ari, lying in the grass doing something quietly with Ivy for at least a half hour. I didn't want to interrupt, but I was intriqued, so I quietly went over and saw my son dropping different size pebbles into a bowl of water: "Listen to the sound of the bigger stones as they plop into the water, Ivy." Then he would imitate the sound for her by popping his finger from his mouth. Ivy smiled, reached into the bowl and picked out a stone and dropped it in the bowl again and again. He was teaching her a quiet, mindful meditation about sound and love.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not meaning to pat ourselves on the back for having taught Good Parenting. Neither of these examples is something I ever did when our kids were little. I'm also very aware that, as a parent, the arc of our children's lives always depends, to some extent, on luck and the grace of God. The great choices our kids made for life partners matters a lot, too. Jess, my son in law, Lily my daughter in law, are beautiful people and loving, skillful parents.

I guess I'm just, in a self reflective moment, in the arc of my own life, expressing tremendous gratitude for all the blessings I have been given, and, as I think about the next cycle of life circles, I feel happy about the kind of parents that Ivy and Marlowe may one day be.

With Love and Respect, Jon

 
1 Comment(s):
Donna Macomber said...
Jon, I just re-read this for the third time, and like those arcs you reference, those essential circles, each read was just as rich and revealing as the previous one. Thank you for taking the time to observe your loved ones so intimately, and to bring those snapshots to the wider world for reflection.
July 26, 2015 12:46:18
 
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