The Sweet Creamy Stuff in the Middle: Love Above and Beyond is nearly ready for print. In honor of Valentine's Day, I am providing a very sweet excerpt. The main idea is simple. Love means being there.
Two days in the mountain the air. The baby bear. The deer
in the crosswalks. The soundless, moonless nights. It was worth waking at 2 am
just to listen to the silence and commune with the missing moonlight. And I did
wake. And I didn’t travel. I hoped Daniel would understand. Each night as I
drifted only as far as my dreams, I whispered to him. I am with you. I will
come back to you. But I didn’t invite him to join me.
Each morning as I woke in the downstairs spare bedroom in
my daughter’s country log cabin, the world began to feel real again. One
granddaughter and one grandson. I had been ever present in their lives since
they were born. I revisited the experience in my mind. My infant granddaughter,
4 years before, lying on my chest as she slept. I got into watching foreign films
with subtitles so I could keep the sound on mute and not wake her. Now, during
my visit, right around 6:30 am, I would hear the soft but obvious creaking of
the wooden stairs that led to my sleeping space. Soon,a tousled, flannel clad,
still sleepy 4-year-old, stuffed bunnies in tow, would climb into bed with me,
smelling sweet and warm, nestle her head on my chest and fall back to sleep.
I was grateful for the awareness that this was no time to
be absent. Love meant being there. Present and aware—the sound of a little
girl’s breathing, sighing in her sleep, the way the wisps of her hair tickled
my chin. She would wake soon and we would go upstairs and join the family for a
hearty breakfast. The scent of nutty dark roast and pancakes on the griddle would
wake her. Every day there, away from home, away from traveling to the other place, would begin that way. And for the
first time, I think, I finally experienced it fully. I had learned to savor. And just in these few days, there was so very much to savor!