...at Love at First sight has clearly never been a grandparent. On Tuesday afternoon we backtracked to Indy to meet the newest member of our expanding tribe. As we walked in the door Daughter Eldest surrendered little Sophia into my grasp. After a quick glance with her killer gray eyes she snuggled against my shoulder and fell promptly to sleep. At 10 days old that is one third of her repertoire, eating and filling diapers being the remainder. I was instantly smitten and quite pleased that she was happy with me holding her for many, many hours over the next couple of days.
When not on baby duty there were additional hours spent with my two missing shipmates from last summer in Florida, grandsons Christopher and Julian. Christopher now puts his woodworking skills to use helping his Papa build frames for a growing body of extraordinary artwork. Julian spent much of the weekend correcting my nickname for him, “I'm NOT J-J!”
Daughter Eldest and Son-in-Law are both serious, talented, artists. Daughter is working on a unique poetry that infuses two languages while creating a form of writing that invokes musical overtones. It is a daunting and daring voyage of the mind, one that has already taken her far beyond any place I could have imagined. She has imagined it for us, and her words can point the way for those of us less gifted. Tomorrow, new baby in arms, she is heading for a conference in Ohio where some of the brightest lights of her discipline have invited her to a workshop.
Son-in-Law is pushing at the very edge of painting / sculpture in a form I have never seen anyone else use. It is quite amazing and more than a little haunting, connecting with the thoughts that lie at the edge of the shadows waiting to be explored in the collective mind of human kind. There is no such a thing as empty, shallow conversation in their house.
They are raising three kids while defying a society that has rejected art, education, and wisdom as things less important than profit, ideology, and war. Yet the former are the very things that both make, and can salvage, our humanity. Daughter and Son-in-Law are deeply involved in what remains of the tattered traditions of academic and intelligentsia that once led this nation to the leading edge of history. That such a remnent survives in our culture gives me hope that all is not lost. A spark of progress still lies within these borders; the darkness has yet to completely overwhelming the future. Maybe, as the next few years roll by, the view from my little boat floating offshore will be one of renewal rather than failure.
Saying good-by was tough. Sophia may well be walking the next time I see her, and J-J will probably not be J-J. It isn't getting any easier, but I am getting better at putting up a good front. Most of the tears had dried before we got to the IL border. By the time we got back to Daughter Middle's home full of the laughter and love that comes with a family of five grand kids, all was well in my world.
Very well indeed.