#family

ON THE BACK OF AN OLD CLOSET DOOR

With the family visiting again this holiday..as they have so many times before

It was once again time to revisit…the back of our old closet door.

 

On it Deborah and I have placed one of our most treasured sights 

A history of our family’s growth recorded in our children and grandchildren’s heights.

 

Heights have been inscribed on this door for over 35 years

It was time to update our two youngest grandchildren…

who have grown 6 inches it appears… 

 

This closet door reminds us…as we read heights written in black pen

How every child grows…it’s not a matter of will they..

it’s a matter of when

 

(I wonder if growing taller is as big an accomplishment 

as we all might be thinking

Because, although we’ve not recorded our heights…

I think Deborah and I are shrinking.)

 

Be that as it may I can’t open this door without smiling

sometimes a tear finds its way to my eye

as I realize when facing it…how quickly time goes by.

 

With the future always one step away…a future approaching so fast

opening this door is a wonderful way to pause and revisit our past.

 

To look back on our children and grandchildren…

Now that they’ve all grown taller than us…

back to a time not that long ago 

when they were all smaller than us.

 

Yes, we’ve been recording heights here for over 35 years 

and hope to record here for over 35 more…

But…if there ever comes a time we have to move away…

 

Moving with us…will be this old closet door.


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GENERATIONS ALIGNED

As I watched our daughter watch her son graduate from college yesterday…

as our three generations aligned

I wondered if she was thinking what I once did…

If my same thoughts crossed her mind.

 

Was she wondering where the time went?

Was she wondering how fast our children grow?

Was she wondering if she taught him everything

in life he’ll need know?

 

Does he know not to be afraid to laugh or cry

to hope or dream or sing?

Did she teach him to be curious and relish little things?

 

Did she teach him to believe in himself

To stop…look around…take walks?

Has she taught him how to color outside the lines

and think outside the box?

 

Did she teach him to be kind and gentle

honest and loving too?

Does he know if you treat people in this way

it’s the way they will treat you?

 

Does he know not to be afraid to try new things,

new adventures, new experiences…forge new trails?

That everybody makes mistakes…and everybody fails?

 

Does he know the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

To do what he loves and never to be smug?

Did she teach him many troubles in life

can be fixed with a nap…or a hug?

 

Is she sitting back at this moment…

thinking of all those winters…all those springs

And wondering where his life will take him

now that he’s grown wings?

 

It’s funny how quickly these questions are answered

the moment a family embraces

when generations align…

together

 

and there are smiles upon their faces.


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A LONG LINE OF DREAMALISTS

My mom loved to mix her imagination with reality

which meant her stories had a few twists 

I called her world Dreamality…making her a dreamalist.

 

I remember one night when I was young 

We were sitting outside…just her…and me

“Close your eyes.” She said, “and when you open them 

your star will be the first one that you see."

 

“That star was created when you were born…

when you became my son

It was placed up in the heavens to announce 

a new life has begun.”

 

“See how it is beating…it matches the beating of your heart…

Those stars beating brightest are the new ones

while those whose beats are fading are preparing to depart.

 

“Your star remains aglow until the day you die.” She said.

“for our stars are nothing if not precise

at which point it will swoop down and carry your soul to paradise?”

 

I imagine Mom was wise enough to understand the science of light diffusion

how the brightness and the beating of the stars is just an optical illusion…

 

I imagine she understood how meteoroids 

are just burning bits of dust and rock…quite small 

And, scientifically speaking, are not shooting stars at all.

 

But that did not deter her from believing her story in totality

(now you begin to understand my mom’s world of Dreamality).

 

Mom’s star burned out years ago and, yes, I consider it quite nice

to think it swooped down from above and carried her soul to paradise.

 

Many nights I still greet my star…

it’s something I can’t resist.

I regard it as a gift...given to me long ago, 

 

by my Mom, the dreamalist.


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BABYSITTING GRANDPA

I remember how I loved babysitting our grandchildren 

how neatly they fit into my arms.

I remember being impressed with their intelligence and captivated by their charms.

 

How they would spend the night with us…how we’d make sure that they were fed

how we’d play some games, watch a movie then send them off to bed.

 

How in the morning we’d make pancakes…in any size or shape requested

and smile as our handiwork was so easily digested.

 

But grandchildren grow up…a fact no grandparent can ignore

and there comes a time when grandchildren don’t need babysitting any more.

 

So the other night when Deborah had some friends over I thought it would be sweet

to make a date by taking Ali and two of our grandchildren out to eat.

 

I saw this as a way to spend some time with them

but Ava had a different point of view

She said, “Remember when you use to babysit us, PopPop?

Now we’re babysitting you!”

 

And I had to laugh but it made me wonder when she repeated it again

What’s the difference between them now babysitting me

and when I was babysitting them?

 

The main difference of course is we’re all older and they no longer fit into my arms

but I am still impressed with their intelligence and captivated by their charms.

 

Their world has expanded outward…their life is more complex

our conversations are more adult now..though sometimes their mom objects.

 

Despite the fact we’re older we still visit with the same joy and laughter and vigor…

although now when we play UNO…the cards seem so much bigger! 

 

They no longer spend the night…and after dinner when I was sure they had been fed 

since they now stay up much later than me…I drove home and headed off to bed.

 

Hoping our grandchildren remember when we babysat…

hoping those days are etched deep in each one’s memory.

hoping they remember the last time I babysat them with as much joy

 

as I’ll remember the first time they babysat me.


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TWO SIMPLE WORDS

When our family gets together, like most families I assume

There are two words when spoken that can light up any room.

 

Whether emanating from a chair, around a table or by the kitchen sink

these two simple words when paired together have more power than you think.

 

For these two word when spoken awaken a shared memory

and instantly remind us what it is to be a family.

 

These two words evoke our laughter, our wonderment…our tears

of moments we once shared together that have melted into years…

 

Allowing us to revisit together…a mutual memoir

to remember who we were back then…that made us who we are

 

Oh how we laugh or cry or smile…

when these two words are spoken every now and then

Oh how our memories are stirred 

and our hearts are filled

when we hear the words…

 

Remember when…



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HAPPY THANKSGIVEN

I had a friend many years ago who always said Happy Thanksgiven.

We all smiled at her malapropism…and she was immediately forgiven.

 

Many years have passed and this friend has long since left my sight

but when I consider what today means…I now think…

she was right.

 

Every other holiday we celebrate…though they certainly uplift

has become less about the meaning of that day…

and more about the gifts.

 

That’s what makes Thanksgiving special…more familial…less stressed.

That’s what makes Thanksgiving…different from the rest.

 

In a society that can be harried, fast paced 

and often excess driven

today is a great day to contemplate and be thankful 

for all the gifts we have been given.

 

Not the gifts that we unwrap…from boxes we throw away

but the gifts that we’ve been given 

that are with us every day.

 

Gifts that make life special…gifts that never end

like sitting around a table with family and friends.

 

Coming together as a family at least one time every year

where we eat, we laugh…tell stories…

and remember those no longer here.

 

Gifts planted throughout our lives that continuously bloom…

Gifts we see on the faces of everybody in the room.

 

As we watch our children…now grown up…

we laugh and smile with ease

remembering how it used to feel 

when they sat upon our knees.

 

Thanksgiving reminds us to cherish these moments 

knowing they will not last long

a reminder of what holds a family together…

of what what makes a family strong.

 

That’s what makes Thanksgiving special…

that’s why families amass 

because we know the best path into the future…

is by linking to our past. 

 

Seems my old friend was right all along…

she need not ever be forgiven

Today’s a day to say thanks….

 

for all the gifts we have been given.


SO MUCHMORE THAN PIE

The older we get we realize…

although we have the same amount of time each day

it is hard to get together with people we love…

as so many ‘things’ get in our way.

 

When it comes to our nephew and his wife…

this was a trend we wanted to defy.

The solution it turned out was quite simple…

our mutual admiration…for pie

 

So we made a date…a chance to meet…

to look each other in the eye

to talk about our lives 

our adventures

and to do this over a slice of pie.

 

And we did…

we met…

we talked like we always do…

we shared a laugh…

a cry 

and the conversation went down smoothly…

just like that slice of pie.

 

As we talked…as we reconnected…

how quickly time flew by…

and before we knew it we had finished…

our conversation…

and our pie

 

And I thought how wonderful it was to meet this way

as we hugged and said goodbye

and how easy it is to share the beauty of life

over a slice of pie

 

We decided to do this again and soon as possible

(not to oversimplify)

because we know time spent together with those we love

 

is about much more than the pie.



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HEY MOM

I love working in the bookstore where I am constantly surprised 

as I get to watch slices of life play out before my eyes…

 

I heard them before I saw them…a mother and her daughter too.

“Hey Mom”, I heard the daughter say, “let me hold the door for you”.

 

The daughter stood there smiling while opening the door wide…

as her mom, now using a walker, slowly stepped inside.

 

“Hey Mom! Do you want to look for a book?” her daughter ask her twice.

"Come to think of it”, her mother said, “a dictionary would be nice.”

 

I showed them a used dictionary, the mother’s face turned red…

“It’s just like the one you had growing up!”

“We’ll take it!” the daughter said.

 

“Hey Mom, do you want to look for another book?” the daughter asked

“If you want…you know you can.”

“No, I’m tired dear I think I’d like to sit down and talk to this young man.”

 

(I looked around the store, no other customers did I see

I happily concluded as this mother smiled…she was talking about me!)

 

She sat, we talked together in voices kind and calm

Meanwhile throughout the store we heard her daughter call “Hey Mom”.

 

“Hey Mom, are you sure you don’t want another book?” 

“Hey Mom, here’s something you don’t want to miss.”

“Hey Mom I remember reading this when I was young.”

“Hey Mom take a look at this.”

 

The mother smiled as she heard her daughters questions, her calls…her pleas…

“It’s nice to have a daughter.” she said, “who takes good care of me.

 

“Hey Mom, do you want to get some ice cream?” the daughter asked as they headed out the store…

“Hey Mom, watch your step…be careful as you’re walking out the door.”

 

I love how life is cyclical because as the mother finally cleared the door

another mother held it for her daughter as she ran into the store…

 

“Hey Mom, can I get a book?” her daughter asked…

“there’s so many in here I haven’ t read…

Her mother smiled as she looked at me..

“Of course you can.” She said.

 

And as the Mom passed by the counter…

With grace…with confidence…with aplomb

A voice rang out from the back of the store…

 

“Hey Mom! Come here!…”Hey Mom!”



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TALLER THAN NANA

We have four grandchildren in our life and we love they came our way.

We remember when each was born…as if it was yesterday.

 

When they were merely babies we held them in our arms

and through the years we’ve been enchanted and captivated by their charms.

 

It’s fun to look back wistfully to a time when they were smaller

because over the years…we’re not sure when…they’ve all grown so much taller!

 

We use to kid with them when they were younger…oh how the kids would fuss

When we’d put our hands on their heads and say…

“You’ll never be taller than us!”

 

Well…the first grandchild grew taller than Nana years ago, 

followed by the second 

then the third…

and Nana smiled as each one overtook her…without saying a word.

 

But the other day, reminding us how time often passes in a blur,

Nana noticed our youngest granddaughter is now looking down on her.

 

Nana, who once carried all our grandchildren easily across the floor

in the blink of an eye, or so it seems, is shorter than all four.

 

(I probably would be more sympathetic to Nana…to this growing reality

If I didn’t realize that all too soon…they’ll also be taller than me!) 

 

Of course we know that’s the way it goes…the way the years are supposed to pass

still in our wildest dreams we never expected…the years would pass so fast….

 

But as I see Nana and our grandchildren now standing side by side

I have to smile when I think how much we’ve enjoyed the ride….

 

So the fact they are taller than Nana…

is not something we bemoan

because we have enjoyed every minute 

of every hour 

of every inch 

 

that they have grown….


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