Ada

My granddaughter was born last week. She is named Ada after her Great Great Grandmother and Catherine after her Aunt. Perhaps names are prophetic and she will share with these two strong women a portion of their resilience and creativity and presence. There are details I know some of you will want -birth weight, length etc - but this sort of information passes through my cognitive system without leaving any lasting mark. I can tell you instead of the intricate delicacy and length of her fingers and the silky clarity of her skin; or the perfect symmetry of her tiny sleeping mouth; or how small she is in her blanket and how light to hold.

She dominated my week. Nick, Charms and Naomi came over from Sydney and Clemency drove her ancient Honda up to see them all. My week was more than usually full, as I made up for the time spent on retreat, and, as well, I made two return trips to Christchurch to see my pregnant daughter and then my tired daughter and my latest mokopuna. Also, my computer died and I set up the replacement. One of our guest cats (I won't name him because it wouldn't be fair on Frank) peed on my new down jacket, and I machine washed it, (the jacket not the cat but I was sorely tempted) harming both the jacket and the wallet which was in the pocket. Clemency's old Civic developed a transmission fault that no one could quite identify but which all agreed was going to be expensive. I researched and bought a new car and arranged to pay for it.

And on the second of the trips North I meet her. Indeterminately dark eyes, probably blue, which look searchingly at my eyes and a little head which already turns towards voices; a still presence which grows even quieter when I play her Taize chants. I have known her for only a week, and for most of her life I will be just photographs and mementos. I will never meet her life partner or her children, or know in what ways she will learn and grow. But my life is tied to and invested in hers.

I look at her beautiful hands, each about the size of a large postage stamp, and see them marked in miniature with all the lines and creases which will remain unchanged  through childhood and youth and adulthood and her own old age. They open and close around my own fingers without, as yet, any conscious direction on her part, but one day they will knowingly hold and touch and make and communicate. I am so grateful to see her; whose tiny fists hold so much promise, so much of my hope.

Comments

Kate said…
Lovely. I am touched, and remember too, my own. The curl of Thomas's ear, the down on James's cheek, the surprising muscular bulge of Natalie's calf. Thank you.
Bridget said…
Beautiful post dad - love you xo
Suem said…
Congratulations. A lovely post and a beautiful granddaughter.
Alden Smith said…
Precious and beautiful. Congratulations to you all.
I'm sure you'll a great grandad for this little one. Grandchildren are a reminder of God's richest blessings.
Barbara Harris said…
Oh that is just beautiful !