In a couple of hours, this visit with Susan and her eight-month-old son, Daniel, will come to an end. She flew here to Kansas City from Kentucky Saturday, via Chicago and an hour delay because of lightning. We have had a wonderful time.
We did some touristy stuff, visiting shops at Weston and eating first at the diner, then at O’Malley’s. We gave her a windshield tour of the architecture of Saint Joseph and ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant. And we showed her our new old two-story farmhouse. Yesterday, she worked like a field hand, pushing the lawnmower through the dense fescue of the yard that hadn’t been mowed at all this season until a neighbor came over last week with a bushhog and then helping paint the new horse shed.
We also spent a bit of time playing with Daniel and taking care of him. The backpack carrier that I bought at Once Upon a Child was worth at least five times what I paid for it.
All grandchildren are exceptional, of course, even those who don’t live in Lake Woebegone. As my just turned ninety-five-year-old mother said to Daniel a few weeks ago, “I believe you’re the happiest little fellow I ever saw.” Of course, neither she nor we have had to deal with the days and nights of cutting teeth or having the croup. Therefore, we can maintain such claims with a clear conscience.
There is something about a happy baby that draws attention and touches people. The responsive smile of a small child brings us a very special joy. For a moment, we don’t contemplate what was deserved or what we had earned; we simply enjoy the gift that we have been given.
To delight in one’s children and grandchildren, to absorb the knowing of those we love, to give and receive for the pleasure rather than the reward: in these things, we emulate the One who has made us. In them, we become what family was meant to be.