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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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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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 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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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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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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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.


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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Our family visited but they’re gone now…the house is empty

but it’s definitely not bare

for the memories they left behind are echoing everywhere.


If I listen closely…I hear them

their echoes and so much more

as they blend with all the echoes they’ve left behind before… 


I hear children chasing each other around the house…

I see them running fast…and slow

the way they did this visit…and so many visits ago.


I see them playing football outside…

they’ve all gotten so much taller

and I see them playing years ago…

when they were all much smaller.


I see one grandchild up in our climbing tree…

I see Nana cautioning him

and I see his mother when she was small 

sitting next to him on that same limb.


Echoes of so many funny jokes…

that my family said were lame

but on the echoes of their faces 

I see laughter just the same.


I see so many memories bouncing around…

an abundantly joyous amount…

so many echoes from so many years 

that I long ago lost count.


I love how the echoes of today…

the latest ones they cast

so easily blend with yesterdays…

and all the echoes of the past…


Which is why I walk around our empty house with a smile

as from room to room I roam

surrounded by all the echoes 


that make this house our home.

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