Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spaghetti and Meat Ball

We just got back yesterday from Baltimore and the granddaughters. It is always pure joy to be with those three girls but this time seemed to be particular and peculiar magic.

Emma (almost 6) lost her first tooth. We let her call her parents at work to tell them. We made her put it in a zip lock baggie so she didn't lose it. And she kept saying, "Can you believe I lost a tooth?" Even though it was completely believable, we agreed that it was just short of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Ah, the joy of simple things--that's what children teach us.

And Tegan, coming up on 3, announced with certainty that she "had a fly bite on my butt". Look as we did we couldn't see it but she was convinced and we went along. ('Going along' is another thing kids teach. Why can't adults, from time to time, just 'go along' with the story even if it is a tad unbelievable and beyond proof?)

But the thing I really brought back from the trip was the shear wonder of holding their little bodies next to mind. The entwine themselves on me and it is heaven. So young, they are, so sturdy, so smooth, so clinging.

Morgan and Emma, the twins, are build like our son Josh was as a child--lean and taunt. Tegan, on the other hand, is like our daughter Mimi was--stocky, solid and stout. They decided I needed grooming and circled me with brushes and hands. At several points all were, somehow, on my lap at the same time--I do have a large lap, I suppose--and it was like thrice heaven.

I remembered then a ritual from our children's childhood. Practically every afternoon we would gather in the large living area of St. Paul's in New Haven's Rectory and wrestle.

Skinny Josh would be 'Spaghetti' and thick little Mimi would be "Meatball" and I would be Andre the Giant. Bern would referee and soothe the bumps and bruises that invariably occurred because they were so intent on bringing down 'the Giant'...which, in the end, they usually did.

That physicality with my kids (Josh 5 or 6, Mimi 2 or 3) was so important to me. A way of connecting with them on a visceral level--struggling, holding on, embracing, touching. Even though it was not a fair match, just the touching and tumbling and tugging was a gift to me...and I hope to them. A bumped head or elbow, from time to time, was well worth the joy and pleasure and bonding of those wrestling matches. It got them so into wrestling that we went to WWF matches at the New Haven Coliseum . But we never got to see Andre the Giant.

That was me, after all.

Now they are 37 and 34. I long to be a giant in their eyes these days....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.