Today was a very special day in the life of my family. It was a huge day in my life.
It was a big deal.
A very big deal!
Tonight, after all the guests have gone, and the last plate has been washed and put away, I finally find myself alone with my thoughts.
And I can’t seem to catch them, or hold them. I can’t seem to put them into words.
But I’m supposed to be a writer of sorts, aren’t I? Don’t I have this blog, and some tender aspirations of one day seeing my words in print?
So how can it be that I have failed to cast a net of words around my emotions, so that I can keep them close?
I don’t understand.
Today we hosted a baby shower for our daughter, who is soon to become the mother of our very first grandchild. I cooked, I cleaned, I decorated the house, I did what I have done a hundred times before. It was fun. It was tasty. It was filled with laughter.
It was so much more than any of that!!!!
It was surreal, but how can I write about that part? I don’t know.
I could tell you about how sweet it was to watch the group of young mommies shepherd and guard their little children as they played on my lawn. I could tell you how I shook my head and laughed, and how my husband and our friends swapped memories of those same young women when they were the chatty ten year olds at our daughter’s birthday party. I could write about that. I could describe how funny and how awful it was, at the very same time, to stand and watch the very embodiment of time rushing by. But that would be so trite.
“Of course time goes by,” you would think. “Of course your children’s friends grow up and become parents. Ho hum.” It was a thunderbolt of a moment for me, hugging those beautiful young mothers and meeting their wide eyed children.
But its only life. It is the wheel turning, exactly as it should turn. Exactly as it always has.
I can’t write about that. It doesn’t capture the hugeness of today.
I could tell you about the whimsy of the party that we had. I could, I suppose, describe how neither my daughter nor I are the cute decorator types. How we do not do “theme” parties. But my son-in-law created a fabulous baby shower invitation with a Dr. Suess theme, and we were swept up in the fun. I could tell you how wonderful and how endearing it was to spend the past two days with my twelve year old niece, who helped me cook up “roast beast” and “green eggs and ham” and even a huge pile of “Go, Dogs, Go” for the party.
I could. I could tell how being with my niece Zena made me realize how much I am going to miss being in the company of children. How her excitement and enthusiasm melted away every bit of fatigue and let me sing my way through the party preparations.
But that wouldn’t even begin to capture what today meant to me. It wouldn’t tell you how my eyes kept filling with tears, or how my heart felt like it was going to float away. It wouldn’t tell you how much I missed my Dad today. How clearly I could remember him holding my own babies when each was born.
I don’t know how to capture it. I don’t know how to describe the radiance of my daughter, and the magic of feeling that baby move. There are simply no words for that.
So it all comes down to this.
This little wooden rocking chair.
I can’t describe today. But I can tell you that every moment of tenderness and wonder and joy and awe and sadness can be embodied in this little chair.
Many years ago, when my first-born was new, my sister-in-law gave us this chair. It had been in her family home for years, used by her Mom in her home daycare. My sister-in-law Chris had taken it when she had children, and they had rocked in it for years. She then passed it on to us. We used it lovingly with all three of our kids. I can picture each of them in it so clearly.
When the time came, and our niece Karrilee was having a baby, we passed the little chair on to her. Our nest was newly empty, and the passing of the chair was very fraught and poignant for me. I passed it on with love and pleasure, but I cried all the way home after I did.
Today, our sweet Karrilee gave the little chair back to me.
It will stay in my living room, ready for our not-yet-born baby girl to rock herself gently as Nonni and Grampa read or sing to her.
I still can’t put words around what it means. I don’t have the talent or the tenderness to tell you how it felt to take that little rocker in my hands once again, to see those crystal clear images of my three little ones, one after the other, rocking in that chair so long ago.
It all comes down to this.
Life goes on. The circle turns. Times moves forward and marches along its predestined route. We can’t go backwards, nor should we if we could.
But sometimes there is a symbol, a memento, an object that holds all of our love and our dreams and our sweetest moments. And sometimes someone is generous enough to let that symbol come back around to us once again.
Thank you, Karrilee!! We love you!!!!