“Here I am staring at your perfection
         In my arms, so beautiful …”

Six days after touch down from Vegas the travelling Wilburys again hit the road. Warm heart and soft tooth all packed, as RFK’d once exclaimed, it was “On to Chicago!”

“Too soon,” Jason exhorted. We had just arrived and there I was overwhelming the baby like a used car salesman. “Give her a moment,” said Stacy.

They were right (I knew), but my eyes were pinned to the silken hair and pearl skin of perfect progeny. She was a quiet, delicate flower and I was straining to sense she knew me.

“I’m your Pappy”, I whispered. “Your happy Pappy”.

(My theory, dating back to the Maxwell Infancy, is that young bundles learn not only the dynamic of our smells but hear the comfort in our sounds. They KNOW us, and indeed know us better than we know them. Go figure).

Out-of-town grandkids? Let’s call it like it is: the agony and the ecstasy.

My thinking’s changed. Time was upon visiting kids that once I’d heard, seen, felt and touched the bambino I was—mentally anyway— prepared to go home. Great to see the children, but…(and they know it too): they’re no longer the straws that stir the drink. And yet, it’s different now. Grown up kids oft act grown up…and, thriving in their own elements…are true joy.

We spent Friday night on a couch: five of us. It is a quite old sofa (remarks Jason), and one she “inherited” (reminds Stacy), but as Lucy slept we curled ‘round the soon-to-be-discarded sectional and laughed. Time stopped as the Cubs lost on the wall and we shared pictures and stories. Had I never seen their wedding album? (I wondered) “Were you really that thin?” others blurted.

“I love the black and white photos,” Carrie told them. (Did anyone else catch the subliminal metaphor of the weekend? We’re here then we’re not. We see Lucy, then we don’t. We hold her, then there’s daylight between us).

       “…Here I am waiting, I’ll have to leave soon
       Why am I, holding on? …
       —How did it come so fast?
       ….Cause I know, when I wake, I will have to slip away…”

The weekend pressed on and Sat. AM, no different than Cleveland, meant potchkying around. “This is my favorite deli in the world,” Stace said as we entered. With a tooth on the critical list and a Lucy on board, I cared very little. Just let me watch the kid.

Torture of soft-boiled eggs over, life ventured on—-

Stopping at an art store, Bonesy stayed with The Little One as Father & Daughter moseyed in for her package. No sooner had we broken the plane of the entrance than I was overcome with hot flashes, suffering severe, sustained flashbacks to Gramercy Interiors and my life in the ’80s. And THEN I heard the price! Indeed, dare I say once she spit that out…had I not been ill and had I in fact ingested my normal breakfast….well…there’d have been something else on the wall for framing. “They’re thieves” I texted Jason, as a show of support. (Indeed, sometimes water trumps blood).

‘…And when the daylight comes I’ll have to go
But tonight I’m gonna hold you so close
Cause in the daylight …”

We slept the afternoon. All of us. When babies nap old folks tend to rest because as babies waken, symphonies play.

Music that night played at Chez Baskin. Brother Dick (once known as an usher in my wedding but now footnoted as CJ’s brother) and Adrienne hosted as many of their kids and ours as could get past the fire marshal. Endless Sinatra blared from speakers against the backdrop of a disappointing national semifinal while three generations mingled, caught up and (except for me), ate. It mattered not—I was watching Lucy…and thinking…

The kid DOES know me—somewhat. I mean she may not intellectually know who I am, but she senses the comfort. It’s there on her face, in her demeanor and…

“Give me a kiss,” I prompt her as she sits on my lap…and gingerly, blissfully she tilts forward, ‘til her forehead hits mine. “This”, I tell myself, “Is why I’m here.”

We went home that night and they put her to bed. ‘Til tomorrow. ‘Til daylight.

It would be another breakfast, another hug, and another goodbye. The agony and the ecstasy.

The way it is.

Bittersweet, the daylight is—the inevitable mornings that always come: when it’s time to leave, to get that that one more tilt of the baby’s head ‘cause you know you’ll be separated once again by miles and miles. And daylight.

“…This is way too hard,
‘Cuz when the sun comes up I will leave
This is my last glance that will soon be memories….”

Maroon Five

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