Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bruce

When my husband and I started dating I learned he was a big fan of a new rock-n-roller named Bruce Springsteen.  At first I didn’t like Springsteen’s music.  I wasn’t much into lyrics and these lyrics, when you listened to them, were hard to piece together.  The sentences didn’t end with rhyming words and, in fact, the sentences often didn’t fully fill out a stanza.  I love to dance so, for me, music had always been about the rhythm.  I’m like one of those American Bandstand Rate-A-Record teens when it comes to music.  I like it if it’s got a good beat and it’s easy to dance to.  Springsteen’s music is a bit more complicated than that.

Over time, though, I learned to love his music.  Maybe I grew up a bit.  Maybe I really listened to the words.  Born to Run and Thunder Road became our anthems urging us to move beyond our small hometown.  A little later, when I was going through what I now suspect was a period of mild depression, Dancing in the Dark came out.  The lyrics were me (and it didn’t hurt that it had a good beat and was easy to dance to).  Our oldest son fell in love with the song Rosalita and could sing it all the way through before he was four.  We became a Springsteen family.  After 9-11, the album The Rising gave words to the feelings of loss and grief.  The first time I listened to it, we were on a road trip.  We put in the CD, my husband drove, I read the lyrics as I listened to the songs, and I cried.

Some songs were the antithesis of our experience or, perhaps, the songs helped us to work at taking a different path.

Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
I just act like a don’t remember
Mary acts like she don’t care

That wouldn’t be the marriage we wanted.  It isn’t the marriage we grew.  Maybe Springsteen’s darker lyrics help us take a brighter road.

We saw Bruce in concert last night.  Each time we see him in concert it’s an affirmation of who we are and how we got to this place.  I remember arriving at a concert years ago and wondering what was up with all the other people there.  My husband and I feel such a personal relationship with Springsteen; it was hard to believe that others might feel the same connection.  This morning my ears are still ringing, but I feel a sense of calm, gratitude, and hope.  I have lyrics running through my head…

Oh, oh, come take my hand
We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land

…and I feel grateful I took my husband’s hand.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Puddling Redux

Grandbaby #2 has arrived and, as I wrote in Grandma: APuddling Mess, I’m overflowing with love AGAIN!

He was born three days ago after a full night of labor for my daughter and two hours of phone calls and texts with me.  I had slept for two hours before the first text alerting me to her contractions and I slept for two hours after the last text from the hospital two hours later.  When I awoke at 4:00 a.m. I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep and I wanted to start prepping to be gone for a couple of weeks.  At 8:35, just before I was ready to leave, I received the text I was waiting for – he had arrived!

When I finally pulled in to the hospital parking lot several hours later, I was excited, but reserved.  After all, I’d done this before.  My daughter’s room was full of people.  Both she and her husband have large families and everyone has been awaiting the arrival of this little guy.   On his daddy’s side of the family, this is the first grandchild.  The baby was being held by one of his first time uncles who graciously asked me right away if I’d like to hold him (or maybe, at just shy of 20 years-old, a few minutes holding a baby had been enough for him).  As I took my new grandson into my arms, I was filled with delight – beautiful, lots of dark hair, his hands tucked up by his face.  Absolutely lovely.

It wasn’t until the next morning, as I scanned photos of him posted by family members, that it really hit me.  It’s not just that I’m a grandma again, it’s that this little guy is now part of our family.  I suddenly realized the immensity of that.  He will share holidays, birthdays, and family dinners with us.  He will soon recognize me as one of his special people.

There are plenty of not-so-great things about aging:  stiffness, aches and pains, wrinkles – I don’t need to go on.  But there are also plenty of good things about aging:  wisdom, calm, the ability to wear a red hat or a tiara if one so chooses, but perhaps the best thing about aging, the very best thing, is being a grandparent.