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Jun 13, 2012

Alice and Wonderland

Alice, our first granddaughter, was born in the early morning of 6/8/12. Babies cannot tell stories, but they certainly know some. What else would explain their dreams? Alice smiles in her dream, remembering something. It seems like there is nothing to remember yet, but she does. We try to figure out whose genes are responsible for this particular mouth, nose, and for that interesting expression. Of course, the real conversation is: what is she going to be like? Who are we getting to know? Who is this person coming into our families?

Looking at your grandchild is a separate experience altogether. There is nothing quite like it. Many grandparent friends tried to explain it to me before, but it is sort of hard to explain. I now understand why. The distance in one generation puts the whole affair of human life in a different light. You’re not really afraid to drop her every second, and you’re not sleep-deprived, and you’re not afraid to be a horrible parent. This time around, you see what you’re supposed to see, because your senses are not as excited. You see how little effect parenting actually has on children, and how much is already inside. You see their growth as unfolding of what’s already in them, as well as exercising their own choices. As long as parents stay in the good-enough zone, provide, protect, and love, they are all OK, and all are fairly inconsequential. Parents are often trying to make something out of their children; grandparents are mostly curious to know how the kid is going to turn out. It’s discovery rather than creation.

I suppose this is because we are a species of makers. Anything that is complex,- we expect to spend a lot of effort working on it. Nothing comes easy. Yet the most complex thing – another human being – is a different story. It is certainly easier to make a baby than to write a book, but a baby is so much more interesting, more complex, more unexpected, and smells better than a book. This is what people used to call Grace – a gift that we neither deserve nor understand.

Now I get Lewis Carroll; he meant to say that Alice IS the Wonderland; she carries all of this inside her, the Rabbit with white gloves, and the Caterpillar, the March Hare and the Hatter. How interesting. Curiouser and curiouser.

1 comment:

  1. Lesley Bogad5:02 PM

    Such joy. So beautiful, Sasha. Thanks for sharing this. Made me tear up a little, even! Congratulations to you all...