A Thousand Days

My grand-daughter is two weeks old today, and today I write my 1000th post on this silly blog, begun in the waning days of 2007 with George Bush still in the White House, the country still believing that bubble would never pop and gas still going for under $3 a gallon.

Just after midnight when I felt the clock nudge into Sunday, I knew this would be my thousandth post and I tried saying something, though my brain is mostly just jagged images and old advertising jingles at that hour. I have deleted that attempt and replace it with this.

I see more clearly at dawn which is why I rise early and do my writing then  – before the phone has rung or anyone has spoken or I have had my feelings hurt in some ridiculous way. (That’s actually Francis Ford Coppola’s take; he too feels the need to write when the hour is early and the Etch-a-Sketch is freshly shaken.)

Although I’m most alert in the mornings I know others are different. This new baby, for example, keeps being found staring large-eyed into the dark, from where she rests beside her mother’s body.

“Hey, you! What are you lookin’ at?” my daughter whispers to this little Caroline, who looks back at her somberly.

They say babies don’t see well and don’t know what they’re seeing anyway.

Still, she looks and looks until she is done looking, and her body goes limp around that mounding milk-filled belly and away she sinks again, back under the surface of sleep, leaving only that little mystery smile you see spread over a newborn’s face from time to time, as if the child is lost in pleasant reverie.

She is adjusting well to life on the outside though she does find the wind a little unsettling, as you can see by the veiling she seeks under her mum’s sweater.

I look at this young mother and remember every moment of our own honeymoon-time together in the early months of the waning 1970’s as Winter turned to Spring and she slowly mastered Cobra Pose, pushed at the rug with small starfish hands and raised herself up at last on her little forearms.

 I study the picture above and can scarce realize that the capable handles cradling young Callie here are those same hands, seen below, that once grasped my single finger as if life itself depended on it.

On 999 other days I have come here and written something and now on this thousandth day I do that again.  Like any infant I don’t much know what I have been looking at either. Ah but what joy to just look and look and then try telling about it anyway.

Darkened by the passage of time, a photo of my same firstborn in 1977, smiling at her first friend (who always smiled back)

A Very Very Very Fine House

The words to this old Crosby Stills &  Nash song keep singing themselves in my head every minute here at this new-baby house where Annie and I have come to help.  This is Annie and not mother Sooz here holding baby Peter but we had both forgotten what it’s like in such a house, where it’s all so hushed and still. One minute we’re talking and leafing through magazines and the next we’re all out cold.

Even when we first arrived late Thursday night there was that feeling, the child reposing in his reclining baby rickshaw atop a coffee table Kevin made back in his college days and would certainly throw away now if Susie hadn’t pronounced it good. (Look what it says though Mum!” (Susie has always called me Mum.) “It says all this over here is the living room, while all that” – and she gestures to a table six feet away – “is the dining room!”

It’s a sizeable room if a tad small for 5 people and 3 pets to be spending days at a stretch but who would want to be anywhere else with that new-baby fairy dust still dancing in the air? In this moment here captured the people are just hanging out, the cats have just stepped down from their padded high-rise, the famous coffee table is acting in its key room-dividing role and the mystified but noble Bosco is keeping watch over all.

Now click on this performance of a great old song of praise to domestic joy and imagine that a BABY is speaking the lyrics: (Come to me now/And rest your head for just five minutes/ Everything is good./Staring at the fire/For hours and hours/While I listen to you/Play your love songs/All night long for me/Only for me. Ah!