It's Russell's birthday today and I remember when he was born forty-five years ago and I was thirteen, as I said before, and was babysitting his baby brother Chuck and my brother White, who is only two-and-a-half years younger than I and it was in the afternoon and voila! we had another red-headed baby boy in the family and that was joy.
The babies were always the joy. Even if nothing much else was even barely tolerable in that house where I was raised, the babies- ah- they were joy.
And I'm off today to town to babysit for Owen whose mother told me that on Sunday night when he threw a fit and wanted to come to Lloyd to spend the night and who said he WOULD NOT SLEEP IN HIS HOUSE, WOULD NOT SLEEP IN HIS BED, that when they would not bring him he stated that he would get a map and WALK to Lloyd.
Oh, that very idea makes me want to laugh and cry, that tiny big boy in his diaper, walking to Lloyd with a map in his hand and perhaps his doggie flashlight, open and barking, lighting his way.
Last night I went to put on my moisturizing cream and found two little-finger swipes through it. He had used some to put on a bug bite and instead of being annoyed that he had been in my stuff, I thought to myself that I would probably just avoid that part of the thick, white cream in order to preserve those tracks made by his fingers.
So it goes and I am a mother, a big sister, a grandmother. I have tended many babies. I have loved them all and I will never got my fill of them, their weight on my shoulders, the way their firm cheeks feel under my lips, their little-man chuckles, their baby conversations, their smiles, their growing and learning and sleeping and them. Just them. All of them.
They have saved my life, each and every one of them, over and over and over again.