Ron Seybold's Sandbox

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In the afterglow of a return from Paige

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Saturday night was long and full of mercies. Little Paige Austin Milosevich, all of 13 weeks old, slept and ate and played in the care of us, her grandparents. We are playing at a layer of parenting we didn’t enjoy while Abby and I became a couple. Paige was not feeling well, congested and running a temperature this latest Saturday. We didn’t panic, but didn’t sleep very long at a stretch, either. When a tiny girl cries you do whatever you can to supply mercy and minister to her, even if it’s only to hold her and walk in the dark, whispering the names of zoo animals who are asleep at 4:40 in the morning.

The weekend was short and full of miracles. The tiny fingers with even smaller nails, grasping and flexing and not yet picking up todays or food. Most of the former was furry and soft, or spinning and colored like a carnival. Most of the latter — well, all of it — came from a bottle, warmed in a 2-minute heater and supplied as often as we could get her to drink it. The coos that come from her throat when she’s relaxing around a nipple, breathing a sigh of relief that we can both feel, grandparent and child alike.

Strong arms in the weekend wrapped around weak hearts, the heart of a baby thumping for comfort, the weak light of daybreak slipping hope and tender smiles under the bedroom shutters. We slept and walked and changed diapers and rocked her in broad arms, jiggling and bouncing the swaddled person who will become a teenaged siren, someone’s mate, a mother herself if she chooses that gift. She will walk her own nights then, following in our footsteps, maybe across a narrow strip of carpet between bed and dresser, doing an about-face and retracing a path that she, that we, have known before.

They are lessons of love we learn together, me and Abby and Paige. Me and my bride learn we can serve together, each calm and patient with the other, even in the dimmest part of our nights when fatigue sits in the small of our backs. Paige learns from us that her cries will bring response and respite. We all practice the sharing of smiles, the singing of songs, sending the signals of love.

It’s easier to care for an infant who is feeling well. I’m glad we had a few Saturday nights like that together before this more advanced class of compassion. We show our love for Paige, so anyone can see it. But Abby and I also demonstrate our devotion to each other and the promise of love that will outlive us in memories, bright acts that light up the cradling and walking through the dark.

Written by ronseybold

July 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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