Sunday, May 25, 2008
Big Blessings Come in Small Packages
Here's our latest little blessing with his mommy (my stepdaughter) and my daughter. And he wasn't the only one we had around this weekend.
This is his second-cousin with her great-grandmother (my mother-in-law).
And this is my baby showing me that she's not such a baby anymore--she just suddenly looks so grown up when someone truly tiny comes into the picture.
But really, despite all those tiny fingers and big eyes and sweet-smelling scalps and such, it wasn't the babies that I set out to talk about. No, the sense of gratitude and good fortune really came over me while I was weeding my mother-in-law's garden with my sister-in-law.
My mother-in-law was sitting on the porch and my daughter and stepson were playing a little more roughly than I'm entirely comfortable with. My "niece" Katrina was standing on the sidewalk holding the beautiful and charming Brenna, and she said, "Show Aunt Tiff how you..."
And all was right with my world, for the moment anyway. You see, my mother-in-law's house has always existed as a kind of respite from the world. When I first started dating my husband, she had goats in her backyard. Summer Sundays a dozen family members would play football or badminton or whatever someone happened to suggest, usually barefoot in the grass alongside her house, while someone grilled. I've never really lived in a world where things moved slowly, no one kept an eye on the clock, and the grass was always thick and soft under your feet.
Her town is so small that the first time I sat alone on her front porch, each car that passed slowed and the driver squinted at me, clearly trying to work out who I might be and why I was there. I sat with my husband on the covered porch in the middle of the night and watched it storm.
But, as you probably know, my mother-in-law is my mother-in-law no more. The niece who told her daughter to "show aunt Tiff" was my niece by virtue of a marriage that is no more. I separated from my husband four years ago.
But my former in-laws are still the people they were all those years ago, when I was shocked by the ease with which they accepted me into their family and the comfort I felt barefoot in their grass. I'm not sure what their reasoning is. It could be that they're still Tori's family and I'm still hers. It could be that relationships grow independent of the one that kicked them off. It could be that they don't reason at all, and they're just generous and loving people who are more concerned with opening doors than closing them.
Whatever it is, it's a gift. It even felt like a gift when my stepson--whom I hadn't seen in two months--said, "Mom, will you buy me minutes for my TracPhone?" That's right, kid--you just stay that comfortable. Please.
Here are some more pictures of my new "grandson", just because I feel like it.
With my stepson Matt and daughter Tori.
With his daddy, Shawn.
In his mommy's arms.