February 17, 2001

A LETTER TO BABY PURCELL





Dear Baby:

I would like to open this letter to my first grandchild by saying how very thrilled I am by the thought of you.  You represent the concept of my reaching the next plateau in my life.  Not only am I middle-aged, but I am about to become a member of the older generation: a grandmother.   I will be 59 years old on April 10, 2001.  Some people I know have become grandmothers at an earlier age, but I am happy at the thought that I will be young enough to enjoy being with you and participating in your life while I am still relatively agile and energetic.

Your mother, my daughter Allison, certainly surprised us on December 30, 2000, while we were enjoying a day with family and friends.  Your uncle Eli was home for Christmas. visiting from the Navy, and his friends Darrin Morris and Scott, Jaime and Jessica Martin were also at the house.  They had come to see Eli.  It had been several years since we were all together.  Darrin, Scott and Eli went all through school together, graduated together, and remained friends for years.  At any rate, we were celebrating our Christmas together because Eli and your parents couldn’t be home until then.  The tree was up and decorated, and the presents were piled under the tree waiting to be opened.  I had been preparing breakfast for the family when Eli’s friends arrived.  Because we were hungry, we grabbed something to eat as we could while everyone visited with each other in the living room.  Allison seemed anxious to open the presents, so we decided to share the moment as one big, happy family rather than waiting until Eli’s friends left.

Your mom played “Santa” and sat in the middle of the living room floor distributing the presents.  The first one was a large thin package for me.  I opened it and found a really cute calendar that said “Kiddens” on the cover.  The pictures consisted of babies dressed as kittens, and there were different pictures for each month.  I am a cat person, as are both Allison and Eli, and I found it to be a very sweet present.  I thanked Allison, but didn’t give the calendar another thought.  We continued to open presents for quite a while.  It had been a very good year, and everyone gave and received lots of nice things.  Santa had been good to us.  With presents, boxes, and wrapping paper all over the room, we found ourselves with two small packages left to be opened.  I was sitting on a kitchen chair in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room.  There wasn’t any room to walk or sit because of all the people and the piles of presents.  Allison held the last two presents and said to me, “Which one should I give you first?”  She then handed me a small, square box.  I opened it and found a cute mug that said, “Grandma, you’ve just been hugged.”  My first thought was, why would she give me another mug, especially one that said “Grandma” on it.  I was totally confused.  All of a sudden it was as if the sun slowly came out from behind a cloud -- the proverbial dawning -- and the thought crept into my mind that your mom was trying to tell me something important.  She sat there like a contented Buddha with a sly smile on her face and I kept asking if she was kidding.  Everyone in the room just stared at me waiting for my reaction.  They were all sharper than I was at that moment.  Your grandfather sat in his chair with a dazed look on his face, not saying a word.  I couldn’t help it, but tears suddenly came to my eyes as I realized what she was telling me.  I had to get up and walk into the kitchen to get a paper towel to dry my eyes while everyone just laughed and talked.  I was a grandmother – or would be when you were finally born.  But for now, you were growing in that special place in your mother, a living, breathing being that I realized was my grandchild.

Your parents were married on March 9, 1996, so I had waited a long time for this moment.  I had always imagined what it would be like – the telling to the parents that they were about to become grandparents.  I thought I would jump up and down, crying and screaming with happiness.  But, I found myself at that precise moment totally stunned and unable to react or say a word.  The thought crept into my head that the wheel of life had just inched forward a notch projecting us into a new phase of our lives.  My own sweet daughter was about to become a mother and I was about to become a grandmother.  “To every thing, turn, turn, turn, There is a season, turn, turn, turn.”  These are lyrics from this famous song from the 1960s.

TURN! TURN! TURN!    (Book of Ecclastiastes / Pete Seeger)

To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven
 

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn,
And a time to every purpose under heaven


A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

The Byrds  "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
Columbia Records 1965

Roger McGuinn "Live From Mars"
Arista Records 1996

 And, it’s also found in the Bible.

“There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven:  A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted.  A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building.  A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing.  A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing.  A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for throwing away.  A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking.  A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Ask your mother and she will read it to you.  The moment of the telling made me realize that each living thing is part of the grand scheme of life as we know it, and we are all spinning and weaving together, turning and turning, until we are one.

I want to tell you who you are and where you come from.  No, you are not just the child of your mother and father, but you are descended from many other people who come from many places and cultures.  The wheel of life turns and turns.  I am my mother’s child, just as you are your mother’s child, and my mother was her mother’s child, and on and on back into the misty dawn of time.

I have spent years trying to find out who I am and where I come from.  The search began as a school project of your Uncle Eli’s and your mother’s.  We made a family tree, drew it out on poster board, and that was the beginning of the quest.  I was able to find the names of my great-grandparents – your great-great-grandparents on my mother’s side.   I was able to put down the names of the people on my father’s side.  I researched and found the names of the people on your grandfather’s mother’s and father’s sides of the family.   Each name and place represents another spoke in the wheel of our lives.  You are descended from Russian and Polish Jews.  You are descended from Mexican Indians and a famous dictator.  You are descended from the Scotch-Irish on your father’s side.  But, most importantly, you are descended from the family of Man.

Your father built a website especially for you.  On it he put your first picture for everyone to see.  I look at that picture and envision what you will become.  And, I’m happy and awed by the power of nature.  From the moment of conception you were loved and will be loved all the days of your life.  You are my angel on earth, my grandchild.

Your loving grandmother, Laurel
 




Natasha
http://www.fencer.org/natasha/

Eliana
http://www.fencer.org/eliana/

Laurel