Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Legacy of Roots

What a lovely day for a walk -- warm sunshine and cool breezes, brilliantly colored trees, and two precious babies snuggled into their “twin” stroller.

Actually, the morning which preceded our walk was less than perfect. At best, juggling naptimes and bottles for babies ten months apart is not easy, and this morning was not one of our better mornings. By lunchtime, my sleepless grandson finally fell asleep over his strained carrots, only to be wakened by his giggling little cousin a half hour later as she toddled over to the cradle to peek at him.

It was at this point that I threw up my hands, got the stroller out, zipped them into sweatshirts, and set off to enjoy a bit of serenity. They were ecstatic – they both love the outdoors. Of course, Alivia loves it with the vivacious excitement with which she greets life in general, and Lucas loves to sit quietly and gaze around with his big blue eyes, a look of complete satisfaction on his little face.

We walked along, Alivia alternately bouncing in her seat, pointing out squirrels and babbling to Lucas. We stopped along the way to talk to my neighbor and her baby granddaughter, also out for a stroll. We took an old familiar route – when you’ve lived in a neighborhood for thirty-six years, every route is familiar – and as I walked in the calming autumn air, looking at the Halloween decorations and the beautiful colors of the landscape, memories accompanied me.

I remembered the years when my children were young – the pleasures of holiday celebrations, my years as Scout leader and room mother, the everyday routines of meals and homework and conversation, the paper routes and the summer jobs and the school dances. I remember driving a group of girls to one of my daughter’s high school dances, and realizing that most of them had been in my Daisy Girl Scout troop in kindergarten. Time passes so quickly. I remember the importance of creating memories for all of these precious children --

There are times when I feel a bit provincial, having lived in one town for my entire life. But, this afternoon I was feeling grateful. There is a comfort of sorts in living in an area where many people have also stayed on for years – to know them, and their children, and to “catch up” on each other’s lives when we meet in the grocery store, or on an autumn afternoon walk.

In today’s uncertain world, this is a blessing -- to know and to be known. And, it is a blessing that I will share with my grandbabies, as we head out on our walks and meet these people who knew their fathers when they were little. They will realize that they are part of a larger family -- this feeling of belonging will bring a measure of security as they navigate life in our impersonal global society.