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Of Babies and Books by Cynthia Reyes

Shall we start with the best part first?

Our grandbaby was christened a few weeks ago. In our garden. Well, on the deck overlooking the garden.

The sun shone warmly, the birds sang a variety of tunes, and the sweet babe, dressed in her beautiful lace christening gown, was secure and placid in her father’s arms.  Her mother and grandparents beamed with joy while the priest and deacon conducted the sacred ceremony.

rev-claire-and-vivian-at-the-christening-1
Rev Claire holds Vivian at the Christening

The majority of the audience — family members and godparents — attended from afar, by Skype, Zoom and Google Hangout, via laptop computers.

A christening in a garden, attended via the internet? We live in unusual times.

But much of life continues as usual. It’s summer and gardening weather – which is not to say I’m gardening much, but that I’m enjoying the sight and sound of the garden.  The water in the fountain gently flows. Hummingbirds feed on the red bee balm.  Mother and father wren share parenting and housecleaning duties – the hatching and feeding, the nest-cleaning. 

Our daughter does a great imitation of a wren, flapping ‘wings’ and all.  She says the phrase ‘busy as a bee’ should be changed to ‘busy as a wren’ because these birds never seem to take a break.

To give her parents a break, I take my granddaughter around the garden, pointing out the birds, the flowers, the leaves, the trees and the running water. She looks and listens intently, as if reflecting.

Our potted plants gave me cause for reflection this summer – on how gardening plans can go awry.  My colour scheme of yellow, white and blue in one ‘room’ of the garden was ruined when the yellow canna lilies turned out to be ‘coral’ coloured – mislabeled.  I scowled, then promptly decided to enjoy coral.

Funny — once you get over the early terror of the pandemic, and the intense focus on being safe, you can decide to enjoy this enforced ‘staycation’.  It helps to note and give thanks for our great privileges — among them reasonably good health, spending time with family, and being in frequent touch with loved ones who live elsewhere.

I am at the stage of deep gratitude.

Small privileges matter too. I stuck with and finished reading a book at last — something I couldn’t do while my anxiety was high. A second reading of “Dust” by Martha Grimes.

Reading it this time took so long that I noticed something I hadn’t before: the new female police boss, a powerful character of Latin American heritage, was used to spice up Grimes’ British murder mystery series — then thrown away in a disappointing deus ex machina ending. Worthy of a James Bond movie, perhaps, but I expected better from this author.

Perhaps I also noticed it because the racial injustice leading to the Black Lives Matter protests have made me more reflective these days. I notice things more. Like whose stories are told and valued, whether in monuments or on television. 

And who gets thrown away.

It’s real life, and it colours even how I read a book.

Real life has a big claim on my time right now.  I tinker around the edges of previously written material, but haven’t done much book-writing.   The time required is better spent with my grandbaby, I know. 

The book will still be there – but she is growing so fast and I want to both help her parents and bear witness to her growth.

~~

Stay safe and be well.

 

3 thoughts on “Of Babies and Books by Cynthia Reyes”

  1. I love all the “noticing” you do in this piece, Cynthia, and the reminder to use this “staycation” as a time to be more conscious and aware.

    Liked by 1 person

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