I sat on the couch near the fireplace with the tiny bundle in my arms. As I peered down into the waking eyes of my newest grandson, Douglas Frederick Cloward I was struck with an overwhelming sense of dejavu. Wasn't it just yesterday that it was Brytt M Cloward's tiny face I was looking down into? Could it possibly be that "just yesterday" was, in reality, nearly 30 years ago.
Then, as families were preparing to leave after a fabulous Thanksgiving gathering and feast, I held a little larger bundle with arms wrapped around my neck as Brynnlee napped snuggled to my chest and again the feeling washed over me, "wasn't it just yesterday" that I held my own firstborn in a similar secure and heart warming sleepy embrace nearly 35 years ago?
It was a wonderful gathering. When Clowards meet they work, cook, eat, laugh and play and work some more. The first work project was to fill the wood bunker so we could keep the firs going and the cabin warm during the cold and windy days of Thanksgiving ahead. And as I watched Kaiden, the oldest grandson orchestrate the the line of grandchildren for the hand-to-hand wood transfer from the outside woodpile, I marveled at his young, yet strong encouragement of the children who struggled under the weight of the fire logs as they passed them along to the the next sibling. And I marveled, "wasn't it just yesterday" that I was at the hospital newborn room window looking in on this tiny first grandson and wondering what would lay ahead for him in years to come - years that seemed then so far off for such a tiny little baby boy.
Then, as nearly three- year-old Kensi presented a log at least 1/3 her weight to me with eyes searching for acknowledgment of her contribution to the process, I remembered that it was just last year that she stood aside and watched the wood passing tradition. Now, she was fully part of it. My praise of her help brought a smile bigger than the log she struggled to carry and I remembered "wasn't it just yesterday" that I struggled under the weight of some load to hand to my father and grandfather to step into the tradition and the heritage that I now carry on.
And now I know that, yes, it was just yesterday and that yesterdays are the birthplace and the the continuence of traditions, values and the birth and the enrollement of new members to the heritage of the family. It is in allowing even our youngest members to play a part in our traditions that enrolls them and initiates them to the values of work and the right of play. It encourages them in the art and the service of food preparation and clean up and gives them the right and the voice in the choice of play and laughter. Yes, yesterdays are soon todays. And 'er we blink, yesterday is tomorrow.
Then the phone rang and the oldest granddaughter's voice seemed to be from just the other room instead of from the other side of the country in Kentucky. And it seemed like it had been too many yesterdays since I hugged her and saw the bright sparkle in the eyes of the young lady she has become all too soon.
Douglas stretched and blinked with eyes looking beyond me. Was it his two-week-old eyes unable to focus, or was he focusing on something or someone beyond, above his grandfather? Brynnlee stirred from her nap on my chest and stretched, her eyes reaching mine with a smile of contentment that melted my heart and held the rest of my world at bay. Kaiden asked to use the soldering iron to fix an electronic connection on a game controller that was beyond my comprehension. Nicolas, Luke and Afton joined Ireland in coaxing for a grandpa's bedtime story, which is always followed up by a special grandpa's mint. It was a great story about the Goolagangi and there were exactly the right number of mints left in the tin for each grandchild. As they slid down off the bed (one of those you need a step stool to get onto) they left me with a newfound impression of my greatest blessings - each of them.
That was just yesterday! I will remember it forever.
I hope your Thanksgiving yesterday was unforgettable and that you remember it as if it were just yesterday, tomorrow. Tomorrows are too soon here and gone. Yesterdays are what we have to keep and to remember, but to make them count, we must see them in today - everyday. Heritage is what they remember about what you remembered and when you remembered them. They will remember what you valued enough to make them a part of -- work, play, prayer and planning.
I am so looking forward to Christmas when they will all once again converge on the Cabin together and again I will participate in the traditions of today's new yesterdays' wood transfers, food preparations, feasts, burpings, naps, stories - eyes and smiles - heritage.
You still have time to plan your yesterdays ahead.
Onward and upward.
To the friends and family of Doug Cloward
Saturday, April 26, Doug was admitted to the hospital for a severe case of pneumonia. Later he was diagnosed with mantel cell lymphoma leukemia.
We have been receiving many emails and phone calls expressing love and prayers in behalf of Doug. We have set up this blog for updates on Doug's progress. Thank you all for your overwhelming support and care!