Dawn, Dusk


Several weeks ago, an old man stopped me on the side of the street. He was walking slowly and with a cane, his back curled like a wave, his eyes concentrated on the pavement under his feet. He saw the wheels of the stroller, first, and then looked up, quickly, as if woken from sleep, his back suddenly straight, eyes kind and blinking.

"A baby," he said."May I?"

I pulled the shade back, revealing Fable's smile. She squealed gleefully, reaching for the man's face.

He gave her his hand.

"I remember when I had one of these," he said. "Isn't it amazing?"

"Yes," I said.

Meanwhile, the light waned, the world sped by. People scurried past, on route to dinner, or the dry-cleaners or a toilet paper run into Rite Aid behind the Newsstand with the empty dog bowl beside the LA Weeklys.

Meanwhile, the old man and Fable were still as hummingbirds, the universe chasing its tail around them. Always in a rush this human race.

Fable began to laugh. A small laugh that turned into a gurgle and then hysterics like she so often does when she's tired, punch-drunk on wakefulness.

The old man laughed back, quietly at first, slowly gaining momentum until, finally he burst into child-like hysterics, his eyes watery, body shaking.

Their laughter echoed down to the end of the sidewalk until the rush slowed and the world stopped and strangers smiled at one another.

I've thought about that moment a thousand times since its happened. About the significance of an old man and a baby hand in hand, laughing hysterically - like eavesdropping on the meaning of life.

... ... ... ... ... ...

Two weeks ago, when we were in San Diego, Fable got to spend quite a bit of time with her great-grandparents. Watching them together I was reminded of the incident with the man - the laughing and the touching - the smooth, uncalloused hands grabbing hold of the veiny arms of her family tree - of the women whose blood runs strong in her veins.

There is great poetry in the measurement of time, in an eighty-year age difference, in a body that has wandered the world cradling one still unable to wander, eyes that have seen most everything locked with those still learning to focus.


I've been blessed with incredible grandparents, three of whom are more alive than most people my age - active in their communities, beautiful and able-bodied, with stories as long as scrolls dare unfold. But there is something different about them when they're with my children, different than they ever were with me. Something illuminates in them - and in Fable. Archer, too.

A whispering of souls, a secret handshake of sorts - a collision of dawn and dusk...

Two ideal lights overlapping, from street corners to living rooms to gardens freshly planted, rehabilitating humanity in tiny increments, orange and yellow hues enlightening the sky.


GGC

115 comments:

vicky @ thecitycradle | 12:38 AM

Beautifully written. I also love the gazes our little babies hold with their great generation of grandparents. It is fleeting and precious and amazing all in one sweet embrace.

It seems extra sweet these days to us as I know their time together is drawing to a close.

Amanda | 12:44 AM

great post! Those are moments to cherish indeed!

Jen | 1:29 AM

I think this is the most beautiful post you've written. It bought tears to my eyes with how you've written about the fantastic and incomprehensible bond between the eldery and infants.
Beautiful.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 1:40 AM

This is probably my favorite of all the posts you've ever written. I remember seeing my great-uncle pause once and asked me if I minded waiting while he doted on the baby of a woman passing by. I didn't mind a lick. He died a few months later, and I have turned that memory over in my head a million times since.

Watching the young and the old together like that, it's like holding something magical and watching it bloom, watching it unfurl, and you did such a beautiful job capturing that. Well done =)

Diana | 1:40 AM

Oh man, Rebecca, you just made me cry. It just hit me so hard that when I (if I ever, finally) get pregnant, my grandfather will never meet my child. And that hurts me so much. You are very blessed, and it does give me a good feeling to see that you appreciate it so.

Zirkuskatze | 1:50 AM

Rebecca, that was beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous | 2:21 AM

This was so beautiful it actually made me shiver (in a really hot room).

Anonymous | 2:36 AM

I'm crying. Pregnant, looking forward to telling my Grandmother the news tonight, and crying.

Lovely.

Margie | 3:04 AM

My favorite picture I have is one when my daugther was about 10 months old and was learning to stand on her own 2 feet, she has her arms outstretched reaching for my grandfather's hands, him being legally blind, but still having that look of "come on baby, you can do it" . . I cherish that picture as my "baby" is now 30 years old and my grandfather is long gone.

D | 3:53 AM

That was beautiful. Thank you.

Sarah | 3:54 AM

That was so beautiful. I literally have full-body goosebumps.

Mariselle | 4:17 AM

What a beautiful post to read on this Friday morning. So inspiring...I miss my great-grandmother so much and feel so sad she never got to meet my babies. I think she would have been similar to yours, she always had such life in her eyes. Eres una bella persona, Rebecca.

Francesca | 4:24 AM

This was an amazingly beautifully written post (is that a bit overboard on the adverbs? probably). I just lost my last grandparent. My little boys lost their last great-grandparent. Only momentarily did they have the moments you describe with their great-grandparents. I wish for more but in fact, they received more emotional connection from them than I did. V beautiful.

Recently, my grandmother died only moments after I left her bedside with my father and my youngest son after she'd met him for the first time. I can only hope that in that moment she felt the full cycle of life and its completeness and felt able, therefore, to let go.

Nalene | 4:43 AM

That story was beautiful

Catherine | 4:45 AM

Beautiful.

Fable and Archer are so lucky to know their great-grandparents. I only had one grandparent that I knew as a child, and she died when I was 8. I'm now pregnant with my first child and he or she will have 5 living great-grandparents. I am overwhelmed by the blessing in that.

Brittany at Mommy Words | 4:47 AM

This is a beautiful post. The circle of life brings the old and the young so close in so mnay ways despite their seemingly uncrossable differences in age and experience. I sat in awe both times my children met their great grandfather. There was something so peaceful and easy between them. Thank you for this post.

Desiree Fawn | 5:01 AM

I am all bleary eyed now -- beautiful post.

I feel so grateful that our daughter has grandparents, great grandparents and great great grand mothers on both sides. It's truly amazing.

Anonymous | 5:20 AM

That was such a beautiful post.

robyn | 5:42 AM

Beautiful.

Michelle | 5:42 AM

You have such an amazing way with words. This is not the first of your posts that have made me tear up and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Jill Pilgrim | 6:02 AM

I agree, the most beautiful post I've read on this site.

Adventures In Babywearing | 6:08 AM

I love that top photo. And I love this post. I have one set of grandparents still around and it is like therapy when I take the babies to them. The fountain of youth.

Steph

Nadia | 6:15 AM

How beautiful that was. Your words brought tears to my eyes.

see you be you | 6:20 AM

what a beautiful post. thank you.

hayley | 6:22 AM

My daughter Elke was actually named after my grandmother, Alice, who I was extremely close to. She and I talked almost every other day until she died at 89. She was an obsessive traveler, and when she got cancer, was basically like, get me out of here quickly please. Elke is hebrew for Alice. I dream that they met in another life. Or that maybe they're the same person... Beautiful post.

Sarah | 6:26 AM

GGC, you just made me cry at work! Such a beautiful story, thank you for sharing. My grandmother LOVES babies and there hasn't been one in our family in 18 years. I'm hoping I can give her a great grandchild before she leaves this life for her eternal one.

Julianne | 6:31 AM

Beautiful.

Becky | 6:32 AM

beautiful! My parents are very involved in my son's life. Almost as much as I am... it's wonderful!!

tina | 6:38 AM

you just kill me. dead i am. oof. so wonderful.

april | 6:48 AM

Simply beautiful - nothing more to say. Thank you for this beautiful pause in an otherwise hectic morning.

Kait | 6:54 AM

I'm taking my newly almost adopted daughters to meet their great grand parents this weekend. Thank you for this.

Also? My word verification is prick. And I'm probably going to giggle all day.

bedbyday | 6:56 AM

Beautifully written and well said. Keep writing.

Bethany | 7:19 AM

WOW. This is a beautiful post, it brought tears to my eyes as well.

McConnels | 7:28 AM

maybe my favorite post from you yet, made me tear up a bit. my baby just met his great-grands last week... it was truly special.

Amy B. | 7:31 AM

This was such a touching post -- thank you.

You know what I thought after reading it? This magical moment wouldn't have happened if you were one of those freak-out moms who won't let people touch her kids.

The power of touch is incredible. (I know -- I once had to live without touch for a while, and it drove me to depression.) The power of the touch of a small, smooth, sweet baby is even more powerful.

Instead of flinching away from the old man and wielding a bottle of Purell as if it were pepper spray, you allowed the natural to unfold. And in doing so, you brightened the day of that old man and everyone who reads this.

Babing at High Altitude | 7:33 AM

So touching. It really does make you stop and think about life, seeing its two extremes. I am making plans right now to go see my grandparents with my daughter. Thank you for this post.

Anonymous | 7:35 AM

Thank you for the post. My grandmother died Monday....Never having met my youngest child. Cherish it.

Martie | 7:38 AM

It's like the young and old can read each others minds...without saying a word. Telling jokes and secrets with their eyes. And it's awesome.

Rosanna =) | 7:43 AM

Definitely one of my favorite posts of yours!

I just blogged about Fin's great grandmas the other day but it was definitely not as beautiful as this post!

number17cherrytreelane | 7:52 AM

Simply a perfect and beautiful post. Idyllic.

Loukia | 7:57 AM

Awww.. wonderful, beautiful, post. And so true... something so touching to see an older person interacting with a small baby... pure joy...

Tirah | 8:11 AM

Awesome post! I loved it.

mairim | 8:11 AM

This is my first time commenting, though I've been reading for years. Rebecca, this is so eloquent. Some of your phrases- "smooth, uncalloused hands grabbing hold of the veiny arms of her family tree"- are small poems unto themselves.
I'm showing this to my mother.

carrie @ dear tucker | 8:11 AM

Beautiful post, wonderfully written. Babies are such a wonderful thing, bringing life back to all of us.

Karina | 8:12 AM

That brightened my morning, especially the picture of fable looking up at her great grandma. Precious.

Jackie | 8:38 AM

Oh. Tears. Hard to type through bleary eyes, but I'll give it a go...
As always, your words have managed to reach inside me and rip out a fistful of emotion - and I like it! lol!
Growing up, I was very close with my grandparents, and I still miss them so much it physically hurts. They have all long left this world, and it makes me so sad that I will never see them dote on my children as they did with me. It makes me weepy when I think of the love they would have shared, and the memories and stories they would create.
The young and the old can communicate like no one else...as if they know the secrets of the universe, and I believe that they really do; the elderly have learned to appreciate the small things in life, and the young have not yet learned otherwise. When the old man and Fable shared that moment, I believe that they were probably lauging at the rest of us fools who don't know how to slow down and enjoy the simple exchange of a smile and a giggle.
Thank-you so much for sharing this story, Rebecca! You've made my day, even though I'll probably be teary-eyed for the rest of the morning ;)

LouEffie | 8:52 AM

Beautiful post. I read it with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. How I miss my grandmother and wish she had lived to meet my children. In the next life, for certain, they will laugh together.

Carmen | 8:56 AM

Okay, now you've made me cry. Sheesh. My kids are the same age as yours and have just one living great-grandparent, my husband's paternal grandmother. She lives to see her grandchildren and it indeed is a beautiful thing.

Amanda | 9:06 AM

One of the things that comforted me through the shock of my unplanned pregnancy was knowing that at least my grandparents whom I cherish beyond words would be able to meet my son. I value every visit and hope that one day he will too.

Amazing post.

MonoCerdo | 9:20 AM

Breathtaking. I love the gift you have for sculpting images out of words. I hope some of the NRA guys stuck around for this.

lonek8 | 9:22 AM

that was truly beautiful. Reminds me of seeing my grandfather hold my oldest daughter, and the regret that he passed before seeing his great grandson - the first boy born into the family in 46 years. But I know that he is watching them grow. I wish I could frame my thought as elegantly as you do. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us each day

Anonymous | 9:31 AM

Bravo GGC! Bravo.

***shakes the tears away***

Estelle | 9:31 AM

Stunning photos that your family will cherish forever. What a beautiful bit of writing. Thank you for always sharing such honest observations.

leila | 9:37 AM

This is my favourite of your posts. Seriously beautifully written. Thank you for this poetry.

That's What She Said | 9:38 AM

I agree with the crowd. Best. Post. Ever. Totally got chills. My grandpa passed away shortly before i found out I was pregnant and he was one of my favorite human beings on the planet. How lucky Fable and Archer are to know their grandparents.

Beautifully written.

Anonymous | 9:55 AM

What a wonderful post - you are so eloquent and artistic with your words, and I shake my head because I've also viewed the things you have, just never related it in words like you did. How lucky you are to have grandparents, and for the kids to have "active" great-grandparents. A gift, indeed, that a lot of us either take for granted, or haven't been able to experience.

Olivia | 9:59 AM

I've never commented before before holy moly, you are a gifted writer. I hope you're working on your next book.

Studio222 Photography | 10:04 AM

Perfectly explained. I've thought something similar before but couldn't articulate it. Beautiful. Thank you.

MamaNeena | 10:04 AM

writing like this is why I love your blog!

sara lou & stew | 10:14 AM

awesome.

AS Novus aka Mamacita Caliente | 10:21 AM

Lovely.

mom2nji | 10:23 AM

You are an incredible writer. This was one of the most beautiful post I have ever read.

esthela | 10:32 AM

I'm going to concur with the gist of these comments, except 1000 times over.

Anonymous | 11:22 AM

this is lovely. best writing i've read of yours to date.

~S | 11:36 AM

What a beautiful post, brought tears to my eyes... at work even. There really is something special that lights up around children. Thank you for this wonderful reflection.

ohsweetjeebus | 12:02 PM

oh my.

that was beautiful.

humpsNbump | 12:48 PM

Beautiful. I just love your writing and this blog.

~ humps

Margaret B | 12:56 PM

I am counting the weeks until Christmas when I can introduce my one-month old son to my 92-year-old grandmother. I pray often that she is still alive, but I want her to meet her only great-grandchild. For exactly the reasons you wrote this post.

Anonymous | 2:08 PM

I am speechless and covered in goosebumps. Thank you.

Sheila | 2:37 PM

So.Very.Beautiful.
thank you

Sandy | 3:11 PM

Another great post from a great writer. She is so stinking cute I want to squish her.

Cat | 6:12 PM

Sigh - you say things I didn't even know I felt! THANK YOU! My bebito and Bako have the very same bond and I adore watching them together.

mrs.notouching | 6:43 PM

Speechless. Thank you, Rebecca.

Carla | 6:50 PM

Bawling like a baby right now. DDs are insanely fortunate to have 3 sets of great grandparents along with their grandparents. Everytime my girls are with my grandfather, my heart trembles in this insane way...she's so excited to be with him and he's someone I never knew before...it truly is magical. A part of me even thinks the magic of their relationship could make him live forever. Ok have to stop or will look like I've been watching a Lifetime movie. Thank you.

Ray | 7:14 PM

That was an absolutely beautiful post Rebecca (but then again you do it all the time ;D)!! Fable & Archer are so very lucky to have their great-grandparents in their lives. <3 <3 <3

hoppytoddle | 7:39 PM

I wish my surviving grandparents weren't such jerks.

JJ Keith | 7:48 PM

There are many beautiful things here to comment upon, but everyone else pretty much already hit it. So I'll just say -- I know that dog bowl. Why IS it always empty? Does someone get off on disappointing my always thirsty dog?

pamela | 8:13 PM

i look forward to reading every word you write. i'm so glad to have found your blog. you make my day everytime i read it.

Pendulum Spirit | 8:21 PM

Like a few others have said, I'm sad that my future children will never get to meet my grandfather. Less than a month after he passed away last year, my sister got pregnant, and just had a baby boy, a few weeks before the anniversary of his passing. While her little one could never replace him, it seems beautiful in a way, that life goes on, and while our family lost something dear to us, we also gained something just as dear.

Anonymous | 8:32 PM

i LOVE LOVE LOVE this.

in so many parts of the world there's a belief that those coming into the world and those closer to leaving the world are connected on another level ---- you captured that so well in this post.

and reminded me of my travels...

Emily | 8:38 PM

Wow. Thank you. My favorite: "Meanwhile, the old man and Fable were still as hummingbirds, the universe chasing its tail around them. Always in a rush this human race."

This has been a really lonely year for me, and on behalf of that man, I want to thank you for letting him have that contact with you and Fable. You have no idea (or maybe you do) what a difference that contact--the emotional as well as the physical--can make in a person's life. It must have made his day, week, year...

S.T. | 9:11 PM

Just beautiful. You described the meeting with the old man so perfectly.

Anonymous | 9:43 PM

this is so beautiful I cried. perfect. the world needs more of this.

Jessica | 9:45 PM

probably one of your most beautiful posts. i rate them on how teary eyed i get and this gets a 3 out of 4 tears!

your grandmother in the photo with fable has the most amazing eyes! i know you are jewish but she has smiling irish eyes!

GingerB | 10:54 PM

Beautiful post! I wish I had more parents and grandparents to share with my kids, but we aren't so fortunate.

Chica de Ojo CastaƱo Brown Eyed Girl | 10:59 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
CindyCindy | 12:02 AM

Something similar happened when one of my kids were little. My (now grown) oldest son was a baby when a very old man came up to us in a restaurant and asked if he could talk to the baby in his highchair. We said yes, and he just stared at my son, touched his hand and his cheeks, and placed his hands on the baby's head. My son just stared into the old man's face and smiled. The man then recited a prayer in German (I have no clue what he said) - but the baby seemed transfixed, like they shared a secret language. It was amazing and I have thought about it many, many times over the years. I, like you, also love the 'connection' that babies and the elderly seem to have. They sure seem to know something that the rest of us don't. It's pretty incredible to witness.

CMalpsNJ | 12:10 AM

Just beautiful. I have always been drawn to the joy of both the brand-new, and those seeing life again from a wiser perspective. I hope everyday that I can make my Granny a great-Granny

Tracie | 5:30 AM

This was a beautiful post! My children are blessed to have two great-grandmothers and I LOVE watching them interact. It is a gift to have extended family!

jasmine | 6:34 AM

I love the imagery! Thanks for sharing

Anonymous | 7:43 AM

Love the post, love the pictures even more. You take great pictures.

Brandy S

calliope | 9:02 AM

wow. amazing post!
someone pointed me over to your blog after I had posted some recent photos of my new son and my dear Grandmother. You captured the magic of such a meeting so well!

Amie | 9:39 AM

Simply beautiful.

Angela | 3:28 PM

I'm pregnant with my first child, going to visit my 96 year old grandmother in a week. I can only hope she's around when this little one is born in December.

Thank you so much for posting this.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 4:01 PM

You all are lovely. Thank you.

And my Nana is the only extended family member or mine who ISN'T Jewish, actually so when you say she has smiling Irish eyes, you're close! She was born and spent much of her childhood in Yorkshire England.

Once again, thank you. I am grateful for these incredible women in mine and my children's lives. My great-grandfather also (he is equally as awesome.)

Love.

theparakeet | 5:28 PM

My goodness! Thank you for such a beautiful post. Tears. We are taking our ten-month old to meet his great-grandparents (the only ones he will know) in a week. I can not wait. Thank you.

JennP | 4:19 AM

you post is very, very moving.
What a blessing for your children to have 3 great grand parents in their lives.

The Redhead Riter | 3:48 PM

That's beautiful. My heart is so full when I see my daughter and mother together (they look a lot alike now). One 65 the other 16. Such a vast age difference and yet both seeking the same happiness in life. I'm glad you cherish those moments. It makes your life fuller and you a better person.

☼Hope you're having a sunshine ☼ filled Sunday!☼

~**Dawn**~ | 5:43 PM

This post is so beautiful. I just read it with tears in my eyes. The imagery & emotion you captured so perfectly. It left me wanting to thank you for brightening that old man's day...and made me miss my own grandparents fiercely.

The Adventures of Eleanor Violet | 7:06 AM

Definitely put a few tears in my eyes. We need to slow down (especially when we have little ones) and be with each other in the present.

Patricia | 12:32 PM

Thanks for this post. Like many other commenters, it brought tears to my eyes. More poignant because I just got back from spending two weeks with my 92 year old grandmother, letting her visit with my three year old and 4 month old. I am so blessed that she is around and well enough to enjoy my kids. Thank you again for your lovely words and pictures.

Tami in NY | 12:36 PM

This is truly beautiful.

Lady Mama | 6:21 PM

Your writing is wonderful. I love the depiction of young and old coming together. There is something quite magic about it.

ModernMommaBlog | 7:50 PM

I have two little toddlers and I've experienced similar moments myself. They are so special. Great post!

mlcwildlifepr | 9:42 AM

This may be one of my all time favorite posts of yours. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your gifts!

Kristen | 11:05 AM

This is beautiful. I mean, I got the goose pimples. It is such a blessing to have so many generations of love!

Margie | 11:16 AM

Thank you!! I have a baby who is just learning to laugh, and has smiling down to an art form. If I could, I would walk around all day with her, just looking for people who could use a baby smile. The story of the old man makes me glow. Again, thank you!

Nicole | 2:40 PM

Beautiful, as always. Makes me sad that my father is dying and won't get a chance to see our future generations (should there be any).

stephanie | 4:17 PM

Beautiful.Made me cry.

Binky | 8:19 AM

What a gorgeous piece. "Eavesdropping on the meaning of life" sums it up exactly right. We should all be so nosy.

MaryKate_G | 9:30 AM

What a beautiful post! Thanks for this.

Jenn | 8:07 PM

lovely. It reminded me of this...

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.

-As You Like It

Jae | 8:31 PM

Awww, I'm so happy and so envious your children know your grandparents. I wanted so badly for my baby boy to meet my grandma but she died less than two weeks before he was born.

These pictures are wonderful, particularly the last one.

Jessica | 6:18 PM

New reader to your site - This post will keep me coming back. Beautiful tears in my eyes.. Lovely!

Shnerfle | 6:26 PM

What an absolutely gorgeous piece. Every time I think my writing is improving, I come back here to see how it's really done. Wow.