The Gift

It felt like the world tipped on its axis when my new grandson, Blake Henri Leland, was born. Well, that may be a bit of literary conceit, but I’m allowed a little hyperbole under the circumstances.а

Blake is just a month old now, and is a wee wunderkind. Not to mention, adorable – as all my Facebook friends and friends of friends will attest as they ooh and aah with every photo posted starting the day he was born.а (The truth: No one would dare say otherwise. The real truth: He IS adorable.)

Because it was a home birth (kudos to Michelle for being brave enough to do it this way), I was able to hold him the very same evening. I don’t think a hospital birth would have allowed that, and certainly would not have allowed Tracy and Michelle to have him with them constantly from the moment of birth. No cold, brightly lit delivery room or nursery for him.а It may be his temperament, or a result of this gentle entry into the world, but Blake hardly ever cries. Although he does have the lungpower and decibels to break glass. I can attest to that.а

Being a grandparent gives you a different perspective on newborns.а As I watch him grow and change, there’s a lot of curiosity about the kind of child and man he will become.а Given the chaotic and dangerous world in which we live and which he’ll inherit, I just pray that he will navigate it safely, with wisdom and confidence.а Too bad I won’t be around to see it.а

This will be tougher for his parents, who will have the job of raising him and giving him all the tools he will need to be his own person. All parents have hopes and aspirations for their children, especially the expectation that they will be smart, brilliant even, and successful in the socially accepted way (think Tiger Mom) – making tons of money as a lawyer, doctor, or business tycoon.а It must be my age, but that all seems to be missing the point. Those kinds of ambitions are very much an ego thing that gives us bragging rights – “See? My kid is smarter than your kid.”а The best we can do is to give them a lot of love and a good, strong foundation – keeping in mind Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, which I will paraphrase here:а “I look to a day when he will not be judged by the size of his bank account, but by the content of his character.”а The rest will follow.

Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet philosopher, said it well in his book of poetry, The Prophet:

On Children

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you.

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

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You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you

аа cannot visit not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

а

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you

аа with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also

аа the bow that is stable.

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So Blake, here’s my wish for you, little man.а May you grow up to have the mind of a thinker, the heart of a warrior, and the soul of a poet.а And may your moral compass always point true north. The rest will follow.

а

He is such a gift,

This perfect little person.

Blake Henri is here.


Blake tipping the scale - cropped.jpg

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ай Maya Leland 2014