There are moments in parenthood (and life) which cause us to stop and just soak in deeply the events which are unfolding before us, hoping they crystallize in our memory forever. The other morning, I was awoken by two little hands gently caressing my forearm. In my dreamy slumber I could hear them whispering. “Like this, Daddy?” “Yeah, just like that. Nice and gentle…you’ll see.” My eyelids partially opened, I could see the faces of Levi and Michael next to me on the pillow. “This is how Mama likes to be woken up…softly and quietly.” “Good morning, Mama”, Levi whispered. “Good morning, sweet boy”, I said smiling. I looked into their matching blue eyes and thought, “this must be as good as it gets. I am so lucky.”
Last week we found out that my grandmother was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and on Saturday was transferred to the ICU due to complications. She has been at the forefront of my thoughts during this time and I have been sending her all of my love, strength and prayers everyday. I get updates from my parents daily about her condition. She is in very capable, knowledgeable hands and has the undying support of our whole family, both near and far, staying hopeful for a good recovery.
Over the weekend, we spent a lot of time outside in the garden, pulling weeds and preparing our beds for planting. For a long stretch of time, I had the garden to myself as the boys went out on an errand and I had time to think and reflect. It was very meditative. During theses moments I thought of course about my grandmother (Nanny), but mostly about my grandfather (Papa), knowing that he is in such agony over not being able to take care of his wife in the way he so wishes he could. I thought about what an amazingly devoted husband he has been to her for almost 61 years. They are the essence of true love. You can never think of one without the other because it’s as if they are one unit. Like peanut butter and jelly, they are sweetly stuck together.
My grandfather is a romantic, a gentleman, a giver, a nurturer, a provider, a loving soul…and a huge jokester. I’m certain that one of the main reasons they stayed married all of these years is because he has never lost his sense of humor. He can always find a way to make you laugh, to turn your frown into a smile and to make your troubles feel a little bit lighter. His words are always kind and genuine and sincerely honest. He has a serious soft spot for all of the ladies in his life…his daughters and grand-daughters especially, treating us all like queens. But there is no greater queen in his life than Nanny and he has always treated her as such, showering her with his love and affection everyday. While giving the standard hallmark-ish gifts can often seem unsentimental and cliché for many, Papa turned it into an art form; flowers and cards for her birthday, chocolates on Valentine’s Day and jewelry on special anniversaries. Yeah, he’s old school, but in the world we live in today, these traditional and faithful odes to his bride are more meaningful than ever. They represent commitment and respect, kindness and sincerity.
Soon enough, the boys returned from the garden center and my thoughts shifted from my grandparents to the whirling mass of little boy energy sweeping through the yard. I looked at Michael and thought how lucky I am to be married to this man and how much he reminds me of my Papa. This man who often wakes up before me to get the boys ready in the morning so that I can sleep just a little bit longer; who brings me breakfast in bed at least once a week and willingly rubs my feet at the end of a long day. He can tell just by the look on my face or the tone in my voice that I need space away from the boys and encourages me to go out for a walk, taking over parental duties at the drop of a hat. He speaks to me lovingly and with admiration, encourages my interests and passions, showers me with affection and knows just how to make me smile. For these things and so many, many more, I am grateful to be his partner.
But more than anything, I feel so fortunate that he is the roll model for our boys of what a good man represents: to be helpful and considerate, sensitive and nurturing, thoughtful and honest; to act with integrity; to stay committed and to always keep your sense of humor. Through his actions he is showing them that being a good man not only comes down treating a woman with kindness and respect but by being a good example to all those around you.
Like my grandmother and my mother before me, I have been graced with the wonderful and exciting responsibility of raising boys. While they are growing much faster than I’d like, I am so happy to see them follow the example that Michael and all the men in our family have set out in front of them. I love that they want to be just like their Daddy…in so many ways. And I couldn’t be prouder to be from a family of truly good men.