What have I learned this month? I’ve learned that writing my stories and thoughts and responding to other writers makes me happy. When I read your words, I am fed,
You show me new ways of seeing everyday experiences. You bring my attention to the details the way a bee values the pollen more than the petals. You teach me that there is power in small things.
While writing this I remembered a moment, the smallest of moments measured by time, a moment that is one of my most precious memories.
One day in October, 1995, my father walked me out to my car. I had been visiting my mom and dad with some of my children. I got them into the car. (I remember the air was soft as it sometimes is in Virginia.) I turned to say goodbye to my dad. I thanked him for the visit, and then I tried to put into words something more. I hoped he knew how much his love and presence in my life meant to me, and how deeply grateful I was that my children had a grandpa who loved them.
He loved them by attending their baseball and basketball games. He loved them by picking them up at school, when I couldn’t, and buying the special shampoo for head lice. He washed their hair before I got home. He loved them by taking them to Great Falls National Park and teaching them that they should “take only pictures, and leave only footprints.” He took their pictures over and over. He made the best egg salad sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches for our weekly lunch. He always had a clean handkerchief to dry tears. He often had a dollar or two to give them with the admonition, “Now, help your mother.”
On that October day in the parking lot of my parent’s apartment, he simply put his hand on my cheek. His large, thick hands were always warm and always gentle. We looked into each other’s eyes–his were blue rivers of wisdom. No words were necessary. I felt peace; our hearts joined.
When he suddenly died a few weeks later, I knew peace, but my heart broke.