Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Invitation to Become Grand

Ruby turned six today.  My first grandchild.  Naturally, I've been remembering the day she was born.  All four grandparents-to-be were hanging out all week at a Berkeley bed and breakfast; Emily’s waters had broken and she didn’t go into actual labor for a number of days.  Such a rite of passage, of course for the baby and for her parents, but for all of us.  For Barry and me particularly, being first-time grandparents.  I hadn’t thought about it that way until this morning. Becoming a grandparent is not something we usually ritualize or commemorate; we aren’t the point, after all.  The child and the parents are the point.  I can remember when I visited my parents with Max, my firstborn, for the first time.  I felt that my mother finally treated me as an adult, even though I was 26 years old.

It’s not necessarily about being an elder, either, as many become grandparents at a much younger age than we did. But what becoming a grandparent truly offers is an invitation to become Grand.  My etymology dictionary says that grand comes from the Latin “grandis,” meaning “big, great, full, abundant,” and connoting “noble, sublime, lofty, dignity.”  That’s a lot to live up to.

We all know the benefits of grandparenthood – having the fun without having to be the disciplinarian or having the 24/7 responsibilities.  It’s just a matter of holding a heart full of love 24/7.

Here is my SoulCollage® card I call “The Grand Mother.”  A grandmother is connected to the Grand Mother, She who holds the world in her arms.  This isn’t big news or a fabulous insight on my part; only an acknowledgement of what this precious child (and her little sister and cousin) have given me and a reminder of what my job is.

Shortly after Ruby was born, this poem came.  It makes me happy to remember it today.

Little honu,
swimming her way to shore
on the full moon’s tide.
We have scooped her up
and held her next
to our hearts,
each one of us.

Blessed is the mother
who labors to bear the child.
Blessed is the one
who protects so fiercely.
Blessed is the father
who attends to the mother
and who welcomes his child.
Blessed are the grandparents
who dream the baby
into the world and
add pairs of helping hands.
Blessed are the uncles and aunts
who fall in love
at first sight.
Blessed is the baby
who give us hope.

For a week we
lived in a bubble
outside of time.
Only birth and death
drop us into that place.
The outside world
disappears in

A long waiting week
it was.
The two, never
losing faith, never
surrounded by light,
held in many hearts.
So many hours, so
many long nights.

Then, suddenly,
she is here; the
word came,
she is here.

The world has
waited eons
for her.
Her gifts, yet
to be revealed,
unique on the earth,
may be exactly
what is needed
to save us all -
little honu,
so recently surfacing
from the seas of
the other world.

* honu = the Hawaiian word for sea turtle