The Circle of Life
Often subtle changes take place within the circle of life. They go unnoticed, we may not think of them or miss them altogether. This past week my father together with other family members shared my home where the circle of life became very apparent. There was laughter, reminiscing, various family gatherings and the notice of….Change.
My father tires a bit more easily than he used to do. His movement was a bit slower and he slept longer hours. Occasionally he took short rests on the sofa. Still, his wit was as sharp as ever and he had the stamina to tap dance with his three-year old great-grand-daughter. Silly Great-Grandpa!
My oldest brother’s beard had turned gray with salt and pepper colors throughout. His dark hair, once thick and shiny had become thin, revealing a bald spot near the back of his head. An Army veteran, he seemed more sentimental. Before going home, he looked me straight into the eyes. “I don’t tell you enough,” he said, hugging me tight, “but I really love you a lot.”
My middle sister seemed much more content in life. Calmer, if you will. Together, we enjoyed playing with toddlers in the grass while trading babies in our laps. Feeding and rocking them, we burped bundles over shoulders before trading them back again.
One day, we shopped in a quaint historic town on the banks of the Missouri River. It’s where Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition that went all the way to the pacific coast. Laughing like school girls, we ran down a cobblestone sidewalk to the same boutique two or three times over again while my husband and brother-in-law re-connected at a patio restaurant nearby.
This reunion of sorts was mainly for my father to meet his new great grand-children and to reconnect with much of his family. Due to everyone’s schedule, it’s extremely rare for all of us to be together at the same time. About a week ago everyone met for fabulous brunch before coming back to the house.
“Dad, do you want to hold one of the twins?”
“Uh, well, it’s been a long time,” he said, hesitating.
“Oh, you can do it,” I said, placing Baby Olivia in his arms.
Almost instantly she wailed as it was near feeding time. Grabbing her bottle, I handed it to my father who instinctively popped it into a hopeful mouth. Her cries stopped immediately to the relief of my father.
After snapping the candid picture below, I thought to myself of the deeper, amazing moment that had just taken place. Someday, long after my father is gone, long after I am gone and perhaps even my children are gone, Olivia, an old woman by then may see this photograph.
With her own great-grandchildren by her side, she will point to the picture.
“Yes, that is my great-grandfather holding me for the very first time!”
The Circle of Life