Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Week in Heaven

Well, it wasn't exactly a week - it was from Sunday night to Friday afternoon - but it was heaven. Jay and Dori make us feel comfortable in their home and Riley made us feel the way grandparents should feel - proud,. in love, astonished, amazed, shaking our heads and thankful.

Are we really old enough to be grandparents? Are my own kids really 32, 30 and 27? It feels like only yesterday when they were as small as Riley and astonishing me as they grew and changed. That feeling is a bit cliche and I always thought my Mom was being silly when she would say things like that - but it is real. I can only imagine what my Mom would think about having children that are over 60!

Riley is gorgeous - I'll post a few pictures to prove it!

It is earning season and Dori had work to do, which was perfect for me and Helene. The last thing we wanted was to be observers - we wanted to feel part of the process - to help and to get to know this incredible baby.

Although I shirked my duties occasionally - I actually slept in until 8:30 a.m. on one day - I tried to get up early and to have my quiet time with Riley in the early morning. It was exciting to see Dori coming around the corner with this bundle in her arms and to hand her over to me for feeding and a bit of reading and playing.

She loves to sit in her little rocking slinglike chair with the moving parts and music. I'm amazed at how much of Frere Jacque I remember.

It was so pleasing to have all the 'baby' moves come back to me so easily - I felt comfortable holding her, feeding her, burping her amongst all the other things - rocking, etc. The only thing I didn't do was change her - I always seemed to be busy doing other things when that need was apparent.

After our lunch we bundled Riley up and got her into her carriage contraption - nothing is simple but for the sake of safety we didn't think too much back to the old days when we dropped the kids into the umbrolla and just walked - when I think about it now I shudder - those things were not safe!

We walked for hours exploring the Winston-Salem downtown/artist district - we stopped into art gallery after art gallery - just as much for them to ooh and ahh over the baby as we wanted to see the art. Riley slept on....

We would wind up at the Starbucks in the Embassy Suites Hotel and have a late coffee and sit and watch her and talk for a while. And Riley slept on....

Then we'd walk back up Fourth passing by the now familiar stores and restaurants. Winston is a nice, friendly place. I'm sure that after a few more days of our predictable route we would have been friends with all of the denizens of the area.

As good as we were, as much as we remembered about handling babies, no one was better with Riley than Dori and Jay. It just seemed so natural for them to have this beautiful child. They so clearly loved her and were so comfortable in holding, feeding, dressing, rocking her among all of the other things parents do.

This week's heaven was created by all of our children - Jay and Dori and Riley were our immediate focus. But while we were traveling Mark was back in Vancouver for the President's day weekend. His happy reports of being with Reesa (and the dogs) and then his not so happy but determined reports of going back to San Diego and getting back to the hard work of Law School contributed to our heavenly week.

And Stacey who is in the beginning of her new job, who let me read a beautifully executed position paper that was her first assignment (and seemed to value my opinion about it) and who seems so happy and solid now with her work, her school, her personal life, created another element of heaven for me.

In some ways having our family scattered the way it is around North America is difficult. But from the day that Jay went off to Vancouver for school I have always felt calm, accepting and optimistic. When everyone is doing what is right and good for themselves, when I can see the value in the direction they are taking in their lives, I can only see the positives.

But the brightest star of this week of Heaven was clearly Riley.

We were with her for 5 days. She is just over 3 months old - we were with her for 5 per cent of her life just this week.

And she grew and changed.

I could see and feel the change in her ability to recognize what she sees - she saves her biggest smiles for her Mom. By the end of the week she could grasp my finger with some strength and dexterity.

She will grow and change and become even more Riley. I will watch and continue to be amazed and continue to play the Zaida role - thinking of her, loving her and trying to figure out how to spoil her rotten without pissing off her parents!