Monday, November 7, 2011

Cooking, Cookies, and Comfort

Our niece and her wonderful baby boys
Came to visit us at our sons
And play with Uncle and his toys.
One brother who contemplates
All things in his little life;
What a world his fantasy creates!
The other whose joyful abandon
Is an infectious, wild delight --
They're the same parents' sons!

Their mother is extremely careful
To treat them quite differently,
Dealing with their individual bull.
In school, working, and separated
She struggles but continues on.
Her dedication is to be celebrated.
Thankfully, their cousin has much energy
To chase and play with the children
As they run through the house so free.

Granddaughter and I, with one of her friends,
Created the snicker-doodle cookies
On which her older brother depends.
We'd prepared breakfast for his visitors,
Practiced Poppie's presentation,
And Richard had been to the store.
We'd made lasagna for a supper to share;
I wanted nothing more than to observe
From a soft comfortable chair.

Lovely, Loving Little Girl

It's pretty amazing to me how doggedly children insist on spreading their innocent love around. We went to my son's house to be with the pre-teen and teen children of their blended family of our son's family and the family of their best friends while the adults went to a Saints game. As Richard sat at the computer working on a presentation on his work with the Higgins boats for our ten-year-old granddaughter's gifted class, our granddaughter came over and started finger-combing the back of his rather sparse hair.

When Richard commented that fixing his appearance was impossible, she shifted to tweaking his rather prominent earlobes. As Richard is a very staid New Englander, not given to any outward signs of emotion unless you watch his twinkly Irish eyes, he was greatly confused by this behavior. I had to explain to him that this is typical female behavior toward the people we love. We groom them. Several times that day she spontaneously threw her arms around his waist and gave him her skinny little body's equivalent of a big bear hug and then insisted that he build blocks around her friend and herself as he had when she was very small.

As we drove home, I explained to him that he is a part of her safe male group and that she is looking for ways to connect to him. Why else would she have told her teacher about her "Poppie" being involved in the Higgins boat builders and have him invited to come talk to her class? This is also why her big brother helped in formatting the slide show for the presentation and why all the children listened and gave feedback on the practice run.

A friend once told me that her preacher said to his congregation on Father's Day, "Dads, go home and hold your daughters. If you don't, they'll find a man who will." It does seem that we never outgrow the need to connect physically with those we love. I feel so fortunate to be married to a man that is so grounded in his values and boundaries, and is yet so willing to serve the needs of those he loves.