Every Sunday around four o’clock I have a date with a now almost 16 month old. Her name is Sofia. On Thanksgiving day of 2018, MK and I were walking out of a typical family gathering on a perfect November afternoon. The scene was familiar, 20 people gathered in a driveway all saying goodbye after a feast and football. I looked over at MK who was on the phone crying. “What’s wrong”? She took about a minute to get out this sentence— “Stephanie is pregnant”. You could have knocked me over with a spitball. Our then 45 year old daughter gave, birth the following May to a little girl named Sophia.
I got to meet Sofia in person twice this last year. The plan was to get out to California twice year and have them here a couple of times. So much for plans. Back in April we started a weekly FaceTime call to the Don Vito family. We have tracked her progress each week. From no teeth to eight, from peach fuzz hair to an emerging strawberry blonde. We sing songs, tell stories and now we have added weekly dance time. Oh yes, The Itsy Bitsy Spider is #1 on the charts.
I decided to see if I could find my favorite childhood book on Etsy. Sure enough, “Mr. Wishing Went Fishing” showed up on my porch wrapped with care. On the inside cover was written TO STEPHEN FROM UNCLE WILFORD—1953. This was my favorite childhood book which my parents read to me countless times. Good stories with great illustrations never grow old.
The story is about a grey bearded old sea dweller who, through a series of missteps, gets two fish to live in the fishbowl on his dinning room table. I read it twice just to make sure it was the ‘real deal’. My plan is that every week I will read the story to Sophia and show her the pictures. Right now Papa Mark lives in the screen, but his heart loves his grandkids beyond measure, and I will take whatever connections I can get.
My parents read to their kids and grandkids. I can still see my kids gathered in the living room to listen to stories again and again. Our capacity to create, share and remember stories connects us beyond time and space, yes to God. Mr. Wishing went to great lengths to assure that his first fish… Skipper, had a friend…Flipper. My little three year old who lives inside of me, relived every moment on my mom’s lap. My mom Pat, died 10 years ago Friday September 4, but her stories still thrive.
Onward and Upward