In the last months of my mother-in-law's life, nothing brought her greater joy than a few minutes with her two great-grandchildren. I used to wonder about that--what it was exactly about them that made the happiness flow where otherwise there seemed to be so little? It would be sweet to think it was simply the two of them--that is, their individual personalities and characters. But it seemed to me that something more universal was going on there, something beyond Mom and those darling little people. How was it that their mere presence offered her so very much?
Yesterday they came for supper, and my granddaughter took along a new prized possession--a violin. Just yesterday she got it, and her first lesson is this morning at 9:30. Her grandpa wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall. Anyway, that violin was out several times, and I was told that I had to take a picture. Grandpa does what granddaughter commands.
Then, later, when I was grilling the hamburgers, I lowered the seat on her grandma's bike, put it down far enough so her granddaughter's far-too-rapidly growing legs could reach the pedals. Took some fussing, but soon enough she got on, and around the block she went, on her own, her first ride, she said, on a big bike.
When she got back, she could hardly contain herself. "This is a big day," she told me, flashing a smile she could barely contain. "First I get a violin and then I ride Grandma's bike."
Somehow, it thrills my soul to know that, for her, that's a big day. That smile is worth the Philadelphia mint. Just to know that she can barely contain her joy from nothing more than drawing a bow over the strings of a new (used) violin and then climbing on a big bike for a quick trip around the block, just to know that my granddaughter thinks yesterday was a red-letter day for those reasons is enough to make me smile, as it was, I'm sure, for Mom, in her last weeks and months.
Why? Her bountiful joy brings me a surcease of sorrow, a sweet release from too abundant care--a moment's immersion in the sheer grace of childhood innocence.
And why? For such is the kingdom of heaven. There--that's my morning's thanks.