Glass Half Full: Home for the holidays
December 30, 2015
Was it just a week ago that Wayne and I waited eagerly at the foot of the escalator at the Reno airport for the arrival of our daughters, son-in-law and granddaughter?
The anticipation among the gathered hundreds was palpable, expressed in myriad ways: flowers, hand-lettered signs, and gaggles of teenagers and multigenerational families.
My personal favorite? A boy about five, excitedly waving a scrawled message that no one could actually read. Every time a new surge of passengers rounded the corner and spilled down the stairs, he would jump up and down and search frantically among the faces.
I wondered who he was meeting. Suddenly he broke from his family and leapt into the arms of a young woman – most likely his college student sister home for the holidays – whose returning hug was equally fervent.
They made all of us waiting smile, a reminder of the exuberance and easy expression of a child.
Our own trio arrived just about midnight, clearly wearied by the long trip from Cape Cod, their first flight with our eleven month-old granddaughter.
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Our greetings were reserved; the baby hung by her Ergo carrier with a slightly blank stare. It was 3 a.m. her time. We piled in the car and headed up Mt. Rose and into a general white out. We were grateful to climb safely into our beds shortly before 2 a.m.
In the week since, I am in awe of our daughter, son-in-law, and our other daughter, Johanna's aunt, reminded of the time and energy required to care for a child, especially in an unfamiliar setting.
I watch their infinite patience, their ability to remain calm in all situations, and I can't help but wonder if I was even half as capable with our own girls when they were little.
One fact is that we were much younger. I was 23 when Hillary was born, 26 for Allison. Allison turned 42 months after Johanna arrived. Frankly, we didn't know as much then as parents know now.
Our equipment seems astoundingly simplistic in comparison. We didn't have Google or instant access to information, other than Dr. Spock. In my opinion, comparisons of then and now aren't terribly helpful. We worried less; they know more. It's simply how things change.
This family visit has been a gift, part of the season. Not without inevitable tensions and adjustments. We are, after all three separate family units adapting to one space and schedule. I'm sure our little scene was mirrored in households across the country.
Oh, but what healing hands small children bring. Johanna's cheerful countenance, her giggle and smile, her curiosity about everything around her, her ready acceptance of everyone she meets, her sturdy and active body elicit in all of us a corresponding inclination to embrace Life with renewed appreciation and acceptance.
Sending our loved ones home will be tough. Their lives are their own, however, and we are immensely proud of the adults they have become. We know that Johanna is in great hands.
Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at http://www.laketahoeschool.org.
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