Lauren, Josh and the newest member of the family, Bailey
just moments after my granddaughter made her
grand entrance at Northside Hospital.
My son-in-law Josh came sauntering out of a longish hallway at Northside Hospital, a slight and weary smile spreading across his face.
His next few words changed my life.
“Want to meet your granddaughter,” he asked me and the other three grandparents-in-waiting nearby; all of us tired, anxious and thrilled and more than ready to leave the waiting room where we had been keeping watch for a dozen hours or so late last week.
We huddled outside the labor and delivery room – an expansive space that had the feel of a comfy hotel suite that just happened to be filled with high-tech medical gizmos and monitors – took a deep breath and walked gently into the future.
My daughter Lauren, the rigors of childbirth now a fading memory, looked remarkably calm, cradling the little girl who had just made her grand appearance into this world. And, at least for an instance, my mind was filled with the melancholy image of my parents, no longer of this world, and a jumbled blur of clichés: L'dor vador, the Circle of Life, peek-a-boo-I-see-you!
It would seem that my mind had turned to mush after hours of pacing, fiddling with high-tech smart phones, iPads and e-readers; low-tech newspapers, magazines and paperback books; chowing down on the very best that McDonald’s and nearby vending machines had to offer and trying to find the sweet spot on the lumpy chairs and sofas spread about the hospital’s Women’s Center.
But the pristine beauty of my grandchild, the life and energy that filled the delivery room when I, my wife and machatunim – that would be Janice and Steve – finally got a chance to take a peek at the center of our new universe, brought about a bit of clarity and had me thinking of the Book of Ecclesiastes and, well, the 1965 hit by the Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn”.
Those of you of a certain generation, hum along if you like!
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A Time to be born, and a time to die … A time to weep, and a time to laugh … A time to mourn, and a time to dance … A time to love and a time to hate.
On this special morning, when the sun had yet to brush the horizon, the darkness was filled with the light and soft, sweet smell of a baby, Bailey Rebecca, not quite an hour old. And, at least for the moment, my family’s season was blessed and clearly a time to be born and laugh and dance and love.
A very short six decades ago and I was stumbling through childhood myself and then I blinked. The college years were mostly fun and filled with friends and new experiences and then I blinked again.
I married, started a new job here in Atlanta, then started a family. I blinked yet again – well, actually, several times – and found myself looking back wistfully at four decades of work and trying to figure out, as Cher once asked Alfie, “what’s it all about?”
Spending a moment with Bailey, my first grandchild, and the cyclical nature of life is finally starting to make a little sense. At least for today, I think Solomon got it about right when he – or, more likely, a number of scholars over a number of years – explored the nature of life and the seasons that fill our days.
It turns out that living really is about weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, loving and hating. Fortunately – and I think I speak for many bubbes, grannies and grandmas; zaides, grandpas and pops – life is constantly changing and the horizon continues to expand and shift, especially if there’s a baby resting comfortably in the near distance.
The really good news is that having the privilege to be part of the first moments of a new life – for me, Bailey’s – opens up a fresh new door. I think Solomon called it the Season of Joy.