The Promise of Sofia
My daughter Mishi just told me on the phone today: good news! She and Sofia are arriving for vacation at our house on July 24th; to be followed by the arrival of Popi a week later. My mind sets to racing. Grammy and I will have to schedule all Sofia's favorite places: on the way home from the airport, we'll stop at the bowling alley and its adjacent restaurant for our usual pancakes and syrup; and while waiting for the food to arrive, Sofia and I will play the arcade games in the bowling alley's back room. Then the next day we'll to go the park, or maybe the pool (which pool? Rustic Canyon or Annenberg?), to be followed by the Santa Monica beach; and at night maybe the Pacific Palisades library for book readings. Then we'll go to the pier, the merry-go-round; then, maybe late at night, Sofia and I will pack ourselves in the car and go chase the moon, hopefully it will be full and magical when she is here; then...oh my God...oh my God...oh my God...foolish old man. Feel your mind racing...your heart a-flutter, your breath suspended; then gulped in deep draughts...she's no longer a baby, a toddler, a little girl! How stupid can you be? Don't you remember the pictures Popi Jorge sent you?! She a big girl now; the tallest one in class. Maybe she doesn't want to do those things anymore?! She's now six years of age, entering the first grade in the fall. She's learning to read and write. You have the visual proof, old man. She is not that little girl any more, the one who sat in your arms, cuddled up while you protected her from the world. You have the picture, the one that your lovely Mishi took in the back yard: Sofia so small, so tiny, her blankey and your arms covering her. Remember? You were ready to to kill, to maim. You were Grandpa; the old man of the mountain, the hirer of assassins. How can she grow? How can she possibly not need me anymore? Is the past just ritual now, to be re-experienced but not lived? Where has time gone? Where has her youth flown? Where is yesterday? Show me the craven crack it has crawled into. I will crushed into a fine powder, to be blown into nothingness. I want it back...the magic of tomorrow and innocence. Mine? Hers? All of ours?...Stop!!! Stop!! Banish. Banish old man. No more sorrow, the brimming tears. The cheap philosophical hand-wringing. Tomorrow is coming, a soon-to-be yellow arising of hope, eagerly awaited. Haven't you learned the lesson yet? The past is not to lament. It is to serve only as a guide, a teaching experience, a preparation for tomorrow. Grandpa, Grandpa, Grandpa...It is June. Then July. Then July 24th! Sofia and her beautiful Mommy will arrive...in whatever form, whatever dimension. They are both ours, born of us, Grandpa's and Grammy's, ours to behold, and loved forever, beyond form, years, and shape and even death...timeless, eternal. Love itself.