After dinner tonight, we headed outside, riding through our neighborhood on our bikes.
The sky was littered with clouds, lawns and sidewalks were strewn with leaves, and I watched my baby girl ride her "push bike" like a champ.
She'd lean down and pump her legs and cruise: confident, fast, smooth.
I can't believe where the time is going.
We got home and I cracked eggs in a bowl, added some sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon extract. Turned on the mixer and beat that up together. Added in whole milk, and poured it all over some leftover brown rice from dinner that I'd layered in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Rice pudding takes me instantly to my childhood.
While this was going down, my Little Miss sat on the counter watching me. Afterward, I scraped plates from the dinner table, washed pots and pans and danced and sung along to The Weepies on YouTube while she talked to me and played a harmonica.
At one point, she looked over to a picture on the fridge and said that it was Poppi (my dad).
I turned, looked at it, and then said,
"Nope, that's Grandpa Joe."
"Oh. He's your Grandpa Joe?"
"He's your Grandpa Joe and my Grandpa Joe."
"Yeah, cuz if he's my Grandpa, he's your Grandpa, too."
To which she replied:
"Yeah, we's both of hims."
I thought my Grandpa would have been gone a long time ago due to some health struggles, but I think he has surprised all of us.
He's still here, but I'm not sure for how long.
And, one day soon, he'll be lots of memories that I'll share with my children.
His blood ran through my dad, and then through me. And it runs on, to them.
I wish that I could take them back to my childhood, to the games of pinochle in their front room, loud with cousins and football games on. I wish I could let them try Grandpa's homemade vanilla ice cream or see the pride he took in his tomato plants. I'd let them sneak chocolate from the candy bowl that they always filled for us. I'd take them back to nights on the floor with blankets and pillows, watching "Anne of Green Gables." And, one of my most favorite things? I'd let them sit and listen to Grandpa tell stories, because he tells the best ones.
I want them to be proud of the man they come from---for his integrity, honesty, hard work and loyalty, a rich legacy of character and love.
No matter how fast we run into the future, or how far we look back, this chain is a beautiful thing.
(These pics with Grandpa are from our trip to Oklahoma a year ago for his 90th birthday. This girl was the only one of my kids who came along. Nursing child benefits.)
We're together, and I'll do my best to help my children feel that chain in their hearts.
These are real people who had real lives---full of the same stuff that makes ours: challenges, disappointments, good times, hard times, sorrow, joy.
The whole deal.
Even when we can't see them, they're still here.
They with us,
us with them,
here or there.
It doesn't matter.
We's both of hims.