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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Day with Diana**


"The laughter of a child is the light of the house."
--African Proverb
Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey

*Somerset, PA Daily American
June 4, 2011
as "Special moments worth remembering"

*Chicago Tribune
June 3, 2011
as "Worth Remembering"

The greatest part of being a grandparent is being able to spend time with your grandchildren.  We’re somewhat fortunate in that two of the four (so far) are only three hours away, the other two are in far-off California, and one more on the way in Colorado.   I don’t know what makes that drive longer.  The anticipation going down, or the let-down coming back.  

The arrival of our son’s family is always a time of great joy.  The new baby, Ian is now four months old.  It’s a lot of fun watching his personality unfold, not to mention his prodigious growth rate.  

Our granddaughter Diana, now a worldy four years old (she’s already been to Korea three times) is an absolute delight.  She is a sunny and happy little girl with a dimpled smile and an absolutely endearing sense of confidence.  She’s full of charm and learning how to use it, reducing full-grown adults to weepy adoration.  She’s become fond of our dog, Tweeter and one of the things she loves to do when she visits is to take him for a walk.  I think getting to hold the leash is an act of independence and responsibility rare for one so young, and hence, something to look forward to.  Tweeter, of course, needs no prompting; he’s always up for a walk, day or night, hot or cold, sun or storm.


These walks are a delight.  She notices everything, taking the time to explain things to Grampa.  The rate at which she learns is startling.  One of the reasons for that is that both her parents are relentless teachers.  Every moment is an opportunity to learn, whether in the car, in the house, or in the great outdoors.  Her young brain responds like a well-worked set of muscles, becoming stronger with each passing day.  She’s been going to school since age three, and with constant exposure to her mother’s native language, she is almost fluent in Korean as well as English, switching between the two effortlessly.   This seems miraculous to me, a guy who flunked three straight semesters of Spanish I.

It was a perfect Saturday morning.  The sky was filled with puffy clouds and the air delightfully warm.  We left the house together and began our exploration.  Walking down the sidewalk, I watch as she looks around.  She calls Tweeter’s attention to a couple of rabbits in the grass.  Tweeter acknowledges the sighting with a sniff and a wag, but doesn’t chase.  Long experience has taught him the futility of such foolishness.  Later on, as he makes one of his numerous stops, she hears a bird in the tree above her head.  She looks up and smiles as the bird sings a concert just for her.  The sun dodges in and out of the clouds and sometimes she watches her shadow as it follows her every move.  

Approaching an intersection, she reins in Tweeter, and reaching out I take her little hand in mine.  She looks up and smiles, and suddenly my world is made perfect.  

These moments are transitory; a puff of smoke disbursing on the wind.  She is growing every day and all too soon, the innocence of her childhood will be folded under by the cynicism that seems to infect us all.  But for now, her light shines brightly in the lives of us all.  And for a short space of time, we see the world through her eyes.  It is not a place of greed, anger, or hate.  It is a place of boundless wonder and adventure; a place where the world holds her safe and warm in it’s lovely embrace.

Country singer Trace Adkins gives us the reminder of the importance of life’s small moments and the tragedy of time:  

"You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back.
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast.
These are some good times, so take a good look around.
You may not know it now,
But you're gonna miss this."

It was just a sunny Saturday in May, one that Diana may not ever remember.  

But I will.
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