Thursday, February 24, 2011

Old patterns repeating themselves: life with daughters and granddaughters

I'm thinking that the circle of life is a double-loop. Or maybe a Möbius strip. See what you think.

I just spent a very enjoyable five days with my daughter, her husband, and their two children. They have a delightful little house in a friendly Italian-American neighborhood in the Land of Many People.

My sweet wife and I enjoyed their company - all of them. Even so, it seemed like I spent most of my time with my six-year-old granddaughter. We read books, played games, and roughhoused. We went to Subway for an early dinner, just the two of us. We drove into a nearby town to take a picture of a famous celebrity's bakery, and had fun getting lost on the way back. We played Rock Band and watched G-Force. She asked me countless questions, and my answers were either the straight, honest truth, or the biggest whoppers I've come up with yet.

As my daughter observed us, sometimes with a silent smile on her face, something powerful and magical happened - tangibly, repeatedly, and to both of us. While I was engaged in a tickle fight, or spinning another tall tale, or holding a small hand as we walked through an island park, for a few magical moments time looped back on itself. In an instant twenty-two years melted away, and we both saw me going through those same motions, not with my six-year-old granddaughter, but with my six-year-old daughter. She felt it, and I felt it: the subtle reverberation of two circles of time colliding and rubbing against each other.

I love my daughter deeply, and I admire her for the woman she has become and for what she has done with her life. It gratifies me to see her and her husband together, so in love with each other and so united in purpose and direction. Time and distance have conspired to keep her away from us, while we have seen her sisters and enjoyed their company much more often. These little flashback loops in the path of time helped me to recall the fun times we had together when she was younger.

And though it sounds clichéd to the point of inspiring nausea, these moments reassured me that this woman that I now admire will always be my little girl.


Kellie said...

I couldn't have put it better. And shucks, now I have to go get a kleenex because of it. Love always, JoJo.

Mallory said...

What a wonderful reflection! Another powerful observation I have made is the one where I watch my parenting style through the lens of my daughter's actions. My daughter is so much like me that I see myself in much that she does with her own children. Some of it makes me cringe...but mostly I am so proud of her and the woman and mother she has become.