HOLDING THE TAIL OF AN ECLIPSE

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Taylor Knilans, made of moonbeams, stardust, and love
Taylor Knilans, made of moonbeams, stardust, and love

Well, here she is: Taylor Ava Knilans! I’ve had many babies pass through my hands in my life, but this is the first human one, fancy that! Riding on the tail of a “full moon with lunar eclipse,” precious Taylor came to Earth at a remarkable astrological time. Here is a brief synopsis of the lunar event from realastrologers.com:

“If there ever was a time for identifying and clearing out emotional baggage, this lunar eclipse is it. Shine a light into all the hidden corners of your psyche and haul out the garbage to throw away. If you have a favorite cleansing ritual, use it extensively. We are halfway through the period between the first New Moon in Cancer and the second one, a solar eclipse, on July 21-22. Saturn is in a great position now to help with this project, too. Please remember to be kind to yourself and especially to your nearest and dearest, as those are the folks we most often take out our angst on. These are tough times for many people, and it is by paying kindness ahead that we can all benefit.”

Good Job!
Good Job!

Such a message! My stepson Johnny and daughter-in-law Candace are at that indescribable moment in their young lives when everything that happened post-Taylor is truly a past-life. I can only imagine what personal history looks like from the eyes of a fresh, new parent. All that you have ever done or left undone is now framed through the lens of “mother,” “father.”

These words, in the living world, herald utter transformation from what was before. Parenthood—a biological, hormonal, perceptual shift—happens in an instant and changes things, all things, forever. New parenthood is looking at your life out of a window in your house you didn’t know existed: the view is entirely different, entirely unknown. The exhilaration! The exhaustion! The dreams and hopes! The responsibilities! And—most of all—the possibilities!

For I marvel that Taylor is not the only brand spankin’ new being in the Knilans’ household. The union of Candace and Johnny, of Candace and and her daughter, of Johnny and his baby girl, of Carter and I as grandparents—all are new, fresh, and limitless creations all unto themselves, gifted by the coming of this tiny star-baby, coasting down to Earth on the tail of an eclipse.

Grandpa Carter says, "Hello you!"
Grandpa Carter says, "Hello you!"

In one Indian tradition, this particular moon is called the Thunder Moon. How true! The Earth and skies drum-roll the arrival of this new and precious life!

Last night, I sat beside Candace, holding Taylor in my arms. She is a beautiful, beautiful infant, dark headed, with eyes as large and bottomless as the full moon that ushered her here. I have no adequate words for her hands. They are not like any baby’s hands I’ve ever seen. No, they are the hands of a Goddess: long fingered, porcelain, defined. When she reaches out, it is not only to touch, but to bless, to anoint all of us mere humans. Because surely, she is too perfect to be a mere human. These are the words of every grandparent, aren’t they?

Every baby I’ve ever held has not been one of my own. I am no blood relative to Taylor. So I stand just slightly outside of that mystery of shared blood that binds a birth family. And so it has always been for me and always will be. But here, at the fringes, I look in with amazed eyes and a full heart, and I catch my breath in wonder when those tiny goddess fingers curl around my own. I have been blessed.

And blessed not only by this “blessed event,” but blessed to have such a family. I am one of the lucky stepmothers—I adore Johnny and Candace. They were high-school sweethearts, marrying when Johnny joined the Navy. At their age, I would not have trusted myself with anything but a Barbie Doll, yet these two have taken on marriage and parenthood—a steep learning curve, steep beyond my comprehension. I got to make most of my most god-awful mistakes long before I ever met Carter. Married young, all of Candace’s and Johnny’s life-walk, their failures and successes, will be borne together, making the joys that much richer, and the failures a double agony. I stand in awe of these beautiful children of mine. Of course, they are smart, and of course they are talented (don’t all mothers say this about their children?), but what touches me most about them both is their deep goodness, their strong affection for each other, and their  sensitivity.

Sensitivity is a both a blessing and a curse. It is what makes the private and very manly-man Johnny automatically reach out to help his dad carry in the groceries, hide the Snickers Bars (Carter is diabetic), and hug me hello, goodbye, and goodnight. It makes Candace determined enough to follow her new military husband around the country, gentle enough to be patient with well-meaning, over-enthusiastic new grandparents (Taylor came home only hours before we arrived), and brave enough to be a mother before she is even a legal adult. Yet sensitivity, while it makes the joys richer, makes the hurts near unbearable. In my view, the world needs all the sensitive people (especially men!) it can get these days.

Johnny and Candace, may your union grow richer through the addition of this new, magical ingredient. May you grow even stronger together as Taylor grows strong in your loving care. May your child bring you a renewed sense of innocence and joy. May you know peace through the profound love and power of family. May you know wisdom through a sacrifice that makes you stand taller, breathe deeper, and live with greater passion and dignity.

Taylor comes with a message for all of us: Throw out the trash! Make room for a new dream! Life is coming—again, and again, and again!

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