I write of a true and tragic tale; one that sounds like a script for a movie. The people are real and the local family suffers a terrible loss.
Recently, I entered a contest to win a day in the kitchen with Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard, owner of Bistro de Leon in St. Augustine, Florida. I always thought the restaurant name came from Ponce de Leon, the Spaniard who claimed he discovered the Fountain of Youth in that city. Little did I realize the name also worked for Lyon, the city regarded as the culinary capital of France and former Poinard home.
I hope to win the contest to naturally improve my cooking skills, impress my guests, and also to meet Chef Jean-Stephane as he seems so likeable in this video. He is a fifth generation chef and a true bon vivant.
Today, my father, known as Pop-Pop, turns ninety. We celebrate his past because that is what he remembers. Pop-Pop suffers from Alzheimer’s disease . I see his life slowly unwinding in a downward spiral, one that is hard to watch. Granny, aka Thoroughly Modern Millie, takes care of him. Granny is 89.I worry and wonder; how long can this situation continue?
In my previous post, I claimed grasping newborn Claire’s finger gave hope. Pop Pop’s hand reaches for help–and we must be there.
So, once again I am reminded of the song from Disney’s Lion King:
I study the face of my newborn granddaughter Claire, just inches from mine, and realize I’m in a state of bliss. How can this little being, child of my child, be so beautiful…and perfect?Her small head blooms with fine dark hair, her fingers grow nails so tiny and thin we don’t dare cut them, her mouth, a rosebud, instinctively nursing to sustain life. Sometimes she smiles, or what appears to be a smile, and I grin back.
Claire is totally helpless and dependent; knowing that, I squeeze her even closer. I want to protect her from any harm, but know I can’t.
She purrs like a kitten when fed and burped. Her frequent hiccups, an annoyance she chooses to ignore. I sit with the baby on my lap, her body bending in the middle like a Buddha, head dropping forward and seemingly contemplating the world. The infant looks as if she is all knowing; yet I wonder what she thinks?
Her presence here seems so natural, like she was always supposed to be.
Today the cherub travels with her parents who attend a memorial service and I watch her big sister, Caroline. I am reminded of life’s circle. They mourn the death of a friend’s brother in a plane crash, so unexpected and tragic. Yet here is a rainbow, new baby Claire, ready for life to shine.
Becoming a parent or grandparent is to have faith in the future, a step that mounts high stakes. To love unconditionally, with passion and complete acceptance puts one in a vulnerable place, but to hold the finger of a babe, is to grasp hope.