It was ninety degrees in Los Angeles as I participated in the stop-n-go urban crawl that seems to define driving out there. I have yet to understand it; there was no construction, no accident, no stalled car, no anything that would explain why traffic suddenly slows down or stops across six lanes. But… it does—again and again—and no amount of explanation or consternation would change it, I suppose. And out there, I guess, it’s best to be grateful for working air conditioning and not get too bothered when it takes over three-and-a-half hours to drive eighty-four miles. Instead, be grateful that it didn’t take twice that long and enjoy the occasional view of mountains and ocean.
Especially when you’re on your way to meet your new grandson.
Little Kinnon is three months old and about a dozen pounds of perpetual motion. Ben and Sara say that he does sometimes get still… for a little while… when he’s sleeping. My guess is they’re too exhausted to be considered reliable witnesses. One thing we are agreed upon, though, is that the little fellow is adorable, especially when you’re not trying to get some sleep.
We sat out on the small patio in their front yard, jacketed against the chill breeze on the side of a hill in San Luis Obispo. I held Kinnon on my lap for a while. He’d look one way and then another, holding his head up, arms and legs swinging and kicking. Every now and then, he’d grip my finger in his tiny hand, and grin at Ben or Sara.
Ben is my fourth-born, the most recently married and the last of my six to have a child. In California, he works for Mobil and is two thousand miles away from his closest sibling. Even though he lives this close to the rugged beauty of the California coastline and the nearness of its fine mountains, he still misses the closeness of family. So does Sara, I imagine.
As couples turn into families and life offers its shapings of who and how we are, we each find our way through. We may grow closer or grow apart but those whose commitment is strong will find a way to turn each of these testings into becoming our better selves. We find that having children is easier than raising them and that loving and living together is both wonderful and fearsome. We are amazed by life’s complexities and cannot explain how we can possibly fathom its many wonders, including how we can love a baby this much in such a short time.
Whether it’s our first, our fourth, our ninth or nineteenth.
We sit together beneath low branches, watch the wind sifting through the intensely green grass and pass another hour in this rare closeness. Such moments as this are always worth the effort, no matter how trying the trip or how long it takes us to get here.