#family

THE TALLEST HOUSE IN ALL THE LAND

There was a time they were too young…too young to understand.

When their parents told them how they lived in the tallest house in all the land

 

Although they knew their parents to be loving, intelligent and wise

they also knew every house in their neighborhood was exactly the same size.

 

There came a time…one day when their children heard them say

How their house has grown a little taller than it was just yesterday.

 

But Mom! Dad! The parents heard their now a little older children say

this house IS exactly the same size that it was just yesterday.

 

Their parents looked at one another held their hands…and smiled

Then looked into the eyes of each and every child.

 

No! Today we climbed the tree in our backyard, we tasted sugar cane,

we watched a caterpillar turn into a butterfly…and we played out in the rain.

 

Every day we are together…our house continues to grow

and today it’s four stories taller now than it was a day ago.

 

This house has many stories…and each time we add one more

It grows a little taller…without adding another floor.

 

Every item in this house adds a story…some are simple…some are grand

but they all go in to making this the tallest house in all the land.

 

When their children grew up and had families of their own

their children also came to understand…

How their families were blessed to be living

In the tallest houses in the land.



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REMEMBERING WHEN THEY WERE BABIES

Remember when our children and grandchildren were babies?

How we were immediately taken with their charms?

How we could not wait to pick them up and hold them in our arms?

 

To them we must have looked like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall 

To us they looked so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.

 

We realized these little miracles were so beautiful…so light

and we immediately fell in love with them…

it was…love at our first sight.

 

And we found different ways to express our love…

it seemed we had a knack

remember how we’d perch them on our shoulders…

or let them ride upon our backs?

 

And remember how there came a time, 

though we were still captivated by their charms

when they grew too big to pick up and hold within our arms?

 

When putting them on our shoulders or playing horsey on the rug

gave way to kisses on the cheeks, or a smile and a hug.

 

And how every now and then we stop…and ask ourselves 

as every day they grow taller…

Have they really grown that much…

or are we just getting smaller?

 

And now they look like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall

And I imagine to them we look so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.

 

But no matter how big they grow…

we’ll continue to be captivated by their charms

as we remember the babies…

 

we once held in our arms.


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BAKING NANA'S COOKIES

Over the years watching Deborah bake cookies with our children and grandchildren

has always been a treat…

because after they do all the work…I get all the cookies I can eat.

 

Her cookies have been eaten in our house and on the beginning of many a trip

and I think I speak for the family when I say our favorite cookie is chocolate chip.

 

They’re made with peanut butter, chocolate chips, a cake mix 

and on a cookie sheet are formed

and they melt in your mouth if you’re lucky enough to eat them when they’re warm.

 

Cooking with Nana is easy…there’s no pressure…no strain…no stress

In Nana’s kitchen you’re supposed to have fun…and it’s okay to make a mess.

 

The other day I appreciated all the baking lessons Nana ever taught her

when I had occasion to bake chocolate chip cookies with Ava…our granddaughter.

 

Somewhere in the baking process…while watching Ava working with the dough 

I began to understand why Nana loves it so.

 

When I saw our smiles mirrored in the oven window 

while her chocolate chip cookies were baking

I realized the cookies weren’t as important as the memory we were making.

 

The cookies, although essential to the process, are actually secondary 

The time we spent together is the memory we’ll carry.

 

When Ava said, “These taste just like Nana’s.” It was music to my ears…

and if I was a sentimental fellow I might have shed some tears…

 

Thinking how Ava learned Nana’s lessons well

She made sure we had fun 

she was messy…not very neat…

and most importantly…

she did all the work

and I got all the cookies I could to eat.

 

Yes…I would have shed a few tears thinking how this memory turned out great…

 

If I wasn’t so busy eating cookies…I stopped counting…after eight.


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FAMILY TRADITION

We have a tradition in our family…it’s as old as the wind…I’m guessing…

When a baby enters our world…the eldest member gives this blessing.

 

With the entire family gathered round…it’s a time for celebration

as this blessing is passed down to our newest generation:

 

May you grow up healthy and happy in a loving family

In a world that knows only of peace…where everyone is free.

 

May you be accepting of all people…and of all temptation…may you resist

and with every person of this world may you happily co-exist.

 

May you live to enjoy the seasons…winter, spring…summer and fall

May you respect the Earth and all her creations however great or small.

 

May you have success in life but realize you will fail too

and may you pick yourself up and try again…every time you do.

 

May you be surrounded by good friends wherever you may dwell

and may they know that you…are a good friend as well.

 

And finally may you grow up to be gentle, compassionate and wise

and may you always see the world through your innocent child eyes.

 

We’ve heard this blessing so many times we all know it by heart

We know every stanza, every rhyme, every sentence…every part…

 

And that is as it should be…for when we are the eldest at the celebration

 

It will be up to us to pass this blessing on…to our newest generation.



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GRANDPA LOVE

“Grandpa how do you know if you love someone?”

his granddaughter asked in a whisper soft and low

 

“That’s a hard question to answer,” her grandpa said,

"because in most cases you just know”.

 

“It starts with a feeling in your heart

which finds its way into your brain

and you begin to feel joy when that person feels joy

and pain when they feel pain.”

 

“And whenever you think about that person

wether they’re standing next to you…or from afar…

you cannot help but smile 

because you know how lucky you are.”

 

And don’t you ever worry 

when you feel love…you’ll know

and the minute that it grabs you

you’ll never want to let it go.”

 

"Do you understand?” her Grandpa asked.

his granddaughter smiled, “I do.”

Then she put her arms around his neck and said,

“Grandpa…I love you”.

 

Then she whispered in her Grandpa’s ear

another whisper soft and low

“Grandpa if it’s okay with you…

I never want to let you go.”


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FROM THE YOUNGEST TABLE

When our children were young our family of five was always willing and able

to sit, when it was time to eat, around one dining room table.

 

But children grow as do families and though each new addition we adored

there came a time when our table couldn’t accommodate our family anymore.

 

The solution to this problem…for a family on the grow

was to buy a little card table…to contain the overflow.

 

The plan was a simple one…one to which many families commit…

this new table is where the youngest members of the family would now sit.

 

This table is set up near the big one 

close enough for the youngest to hear and see

and dream of making it to the adult table when and if a spot comes free.

 

Even though I’m one of the oldest I decided as long as I am able

I would give up my cherished seat…and sit at the youngest table.

 

And this has been my spot at family dinners 

where for years I’ve enjoyed the show

watching our family come together…

watching our family grow.

 

Three things always happen from this unique perspective

much to my surprise…

The first: I get to see the world through my grandchildren’s eyes.

 

The second…and I can’t explain the who, what, why or when

but every time I sit at this table…I feel young again. 

 

And the third: since the youngest table sits a little lower

every time we sup…

when it comes to viewing my family…

 

I’m always looking up.



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IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

When I sit and watch TV I am bombarded by perfection…

Everybody has bright white teeth and a silky smooth complexion.

 

They live in enormous houses in the country or by the shore

all decorated by the finest designers in luxurious decors.

 

They drive cars with foreign names meant to thrill, amaze…astound

and when not behind the wheel they have a chauffeur who drives them all around.

 

But when the show is over I look around and always smile at what I see

knowing my life does not quite match the one on my TV

 

When I look into my mirror I often have to pause

because the body and complexion I see…have their share of flaws..

 

The house Deborah and I live in has never given us reason to complain

even though the laundry room remains unfinished and our street floods in the rain.

 

Our car is nice but is not the kind that will easily astound…

and there is no chauffeur waiting…who will drive us both around…

 

But I’ve come to realize something about perfection as I’ve grown a little older

Perfection, a lot like beauty, lies in the eyes of the beholder.

 

Yesterday we had lunch with some of our grandchildren and once again I was shown

despite its imperfections…how splendid my life has grown.

 

Like all families we’ve had our ups and downs…

as our family constantly transforms…

But together we have ridden those highs and weathered every storm.

 

For the most part everyone in our family is happy

For the most part we are healthy…

As I sat with our grandchildren yesterday I had to wonder…

How did I get so wealthy?

 

My life might not be TV perfect…but….I am happy to admit

 

my real world life is perfect…at least from where I sit.


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TWO LITTLE WOMEN

I love how life in the midst of its wars, its killings, 

its behaviors so thoughtless and vile

will set set aside a moment every now and then

a moment to make us smile.

 

Little Women is a popular book- 

I had just sold one of the two new ones we acquired 

when a little woman came up to the counter

“Do you have Little Women?” She inquired.

 

“I believe there is still one left.” I said

as I led her through the store…right to it.

Then I walked back to the counter 

as she began leafing through it.

 

No sooner had I returned to the counter

in the ten seconds that it took

when another little woman, younger than the first, 

asked for that same book.

 

“We have one copy left.” I said.

There was no reason to deny it.

“But there is another woman who just came in

and I think she want’s to buy it.”

 

“I’ve never read it and was hoping you had it.” The woman frowned

“My mom said I’d adore it.

Let me at this other woman.” she said jokingly

“I will gladly fight her for it.”

 

“Here comes the woman now.” I said

“I’m sorry we don’t have another.”

Then the woman at the counter smiled…

“No need to…that’s my mother!”

 

They smiled…they hugged…they took a step back

and gave each other a look…

“Hey, the mother said holding it up.

“Can you believe I found your book?”

 

The mother bought the book for her daughter

They left the store hand in hand…

And I thought how some of the most special moments in life

are the ones that go unplanned….

 

Like how one book could illustrate a mother’s and daughter’s love

right in front of me…

and as two little women left the store…I smiled

 

thinking Louisa May Alcott would agree.



WATCH THEIR CHILDREN SLEEP

Why is it parents love to stand

quietly…without making a peep

if only for a moment

and watch their children sleep?

 

Could it be they love to see

in that moment soft and mild

the beauty of pure innocence

the angel in the child?

 

Could it be in that moment

with no reason to worry, to fret, to call them 

they are praying for their children’s happiness

and that no harm shall befall them?

 

That they just want their children to know

as they float on slumber’s stream

they will be there in the day to protect their hopes

 

and at night…to guard their dreams.


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