And what a winter of discontent it was! Serious illnesses in the family, struggles in professional lives, friction in personal lives, cold, dark, and long. And yet, it was the same winter that found us hosting our fifth exchange student, an unexpected gift from Holland. The winter saw progress towards the welcome event of graduation for at least two members of the family. The winter also brought a Christmas trip to Europe and a welcome reunion with our exchange daughter, Lucrezia, bambina cara. I experienced kindnesses from so many, many people…and if I am any sort of human being all I can do is remember, reciprocate, and repeat.
The winter also brought the increased anticipation of a first grandchild due, appropriately enough, in the spring, always a metaphor for birth, rebirth, and renewal. Archer Henry Montgomery Moore entered my world on May 2nd, and my cup has been running over with joy and anticipation since. He did not come easily; ask his mother how long the labour took. He also got to spend a few days in intensive care. Nothing serious, just enough to disturb his parents and grandparents, and it will certainly not be the last time he worries all of us. Worry is something that afflicts many of us to a greater or lesser extent during our journeys.
My anticipation was satisfied this week when I became the last grandparent to get to see and hold him, but I got to hold him nevertheless, and he turned one month old a few days ago. On the day he started into the world I was reading a psalm when my son-in-law called to let us know he was on his way. It was one of my favorites, and my preferred version includes the lines “teach us to number our days aright that we may gain wisdom of heart” and, “give us joy, to balance the days when we knew affliction”. Holding Archer brings me more than enough joy to balance any affliction I have had, or am likely to have. Know that means, perhaps, I have numbered “my days aright” and gained at least a little ‘wisdom of heart”.