Thursday, January 25, 2007

Elijah's Birthday

It is after midnight, so it is Elijah’s 14th birthday. While Sam and I were carrying out our tradition of stopping at Dairy Queen after his dental appointment across the street at the orthodontist yesterday, I mentioned that this 14th was coming up. Sam said with all the maturity of a grandparent, “It just doesn’t seem possible." That is how I feel too. How can our two grandsons born in 1993 be 14?

I know it adds up correctly, but it seems only yesterday that Gerald called me on the car radio as I drove home from work at Benton and told me that little Erin (who was with him going to the old Dairy Queen) had a new cousin. Although I knew Jeannie was expecting in March, the first person I thought of was Erin’s expected cousin in November on the other side of her family, which of course made no sense at all.

When Gerald told me Elijah was already here after Jeannie drove herself to the hospital from Crainville with toddler Leslie beside her, I went into shock. Leslie’s Aunt Vickie was working at the Marion Hospital in those days and Jeannie turned Leslie over to her until Rick arrived rushing over from work in Carbondale just as Elijah was ready to be born.

And when I arrived from Benton and saw this tiny boy in the hospital in the incubator with wires and other precautionary measures, I was not much comforted. But he was healthy and soon at home.

Mary Ellen was also expecting up in Iowa, and her son was supposed to be born first in the middle of February. I was afraid he would be a little late and Elijah a little early, and had been worrying they’d be born on the same day and what would I do? But with Elijah six weeks early and Trenton two weeks late and born on March 2, I got to enjoy time with both boys and their mothers during that first week of their lives. But how could they become 14 so soon????

Sam, while answering the dentist’s question about his age, told the dentist he was nine and three quarters. And Geri Ann will become a teenager on Lincoln’s birthday. Brianna will have that same milestone in October. It is difficult to adjust to how grown up they all are. But then I do not doubt that our only great grandchild will be walking when I get to see him again.

I am reminded of a poem I wrote when Erin and Leslie were quite young down at Chuckie Cheese in Paducah:

Moment in Concrete

Two grand little girls
Play on the concrete parking lot
With a miniature Frisbee
Purchased for ten tickets
Inside the pizza pleasure palace.
Watching, my husband and I
Whisper silently over their heads:
Don't grow up.
Like their parents, they don't hear us.

I am glad they don’t hear us, of course, because I want them all to grow up and be contributing members of the universe, but yet, but yet….could they slow down just a little bit? Thornton Wilder had it right in Our Town when the little girl realizes that we cannot possibly absorb and know how precious each day of life with our loved ones really is.

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