The Christmas flurry is over. Time for reflection of prized and ill-advised gifts has begun, or continued from yesterday. Chatter about this or that relative is in full swing.
For our family, thoughts of a respite are distant. Today is our granddaughter’s 11th birthday. She expects it to be fully celebrated. Her parents and grandparents downplay the day at their own peril.
We dearly love our granddaughter. We learned long ago about her determined disposition. She shows no recognition of the energy and expended for Christmas. That does not matter to her.
Through the years, I have heard the lament of many people either born on Christmas Day or days adjacent to the 25th of the last month of the year. I was amused a few years ago when a friend in his early eighties took delight in his Christmas-time birthday, celebrated for one of the rare times in his full life. His visage revealed the proverbial “kid in a candy store.”
So, today, the 26th of December, we pay homage to a splendid young lady (girl?) as she resolutely exhibits pure happiness on her 11th anniversary. She is nearing an age when her childish exuberance will diminish. Adolescence will test her parents’ patience, as well as her own.
We treasure her unbridled enthusiasm.
Please bear with me as I exercise my right as a grandparent to recall the day she was born at an appointed time at Luminis/Anne Arundel Medical Center. Her early years, spent, so it seemed, as an observer of her older brother and dutiful parents, morphed into a little person who claimed her niche in the family.
She no longer was a quiet watcher. She sought her own audience. She became a “character” in her own right. She exudes cheerfulness. She’s funny too.
A principal reason we moved from idyllic Easton to bustling Annapolis was to be near our younger grandchildren (we have two older ones in northern Baltimore County), their mother (our daughter) and their father. Our plan has worked out perfectly.
We spend a lot of time with the children, watching them grow, mature and emote.They are terrific and terrifying; they can sparkle like Christmas lights and misbehave like, well, kids, trying to find themselves.
Easy for me to say as an interested party.
In my late seventies, I often dwell on the very real concept of legacy, as self-serving as that might seem. I look at, and listen to my grandchildren and try to envision their future selves.
Will they participate fully in our crazy world and try to make a difference? Will they be happy?
I have strayed a bit from today and its significance to my daughter and her family, particularly one member. Probably exhausted from the stresses and strains of Christmas—as well as the joys—my daughter and son-in-law want to ensure a happy birthday for their determined 11-year-old.
When I ponder my granddaughter’s almost-Christmas birthday, I think about the 2012 Christmas and my daughter’s discomfort and resilience. She overcame her burdensome bundle and mobility constraints to focus on her two-year-old son and his enjoyment of Christmas.
May I dare to admire her courage and grace under difficult circumstances?
More than 44 years ago, I was a thrilled spectator at this daughter’s birth in mid-August at Easton’s Memorial Hospital, known now as Shore Medical Center. I was overwhelmed with ecstasy, believing her birth was a miracle. I never considered her future as a mother. The present was my world.
The rest could wait.
For my granddaughter, today is her primary reality. Christmas was yesterday. Gifts under the tree were wonderful. But her birthday is sacrosanct. And all family members know better than to trifle with her arrival on Planet Earth.
The “day after” Christmas belongs to my zestful granddaughter. She is all in. We simply have to follow her lead. And we do.
No pause on our part.