Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Most Fun I've Ever Had

One of the loveliest books I ever read -- and should re-read -- is Pillar of the Sky by Cecelia Holland, which tells the story of the construction of Stonehenge. There's an amazing line in the story, when one of the builders looks at the partially-constructed monument and, explaining succinctly its purpose, says, "I am with my father's father's fathers and with my son's son's sons." It resonated with me the moment that I read it and I've never forgotten it. And there are moments in my life when it's the only verbal expression that I know for a deep and important experience that I'm having.

I got to spend time w G/Son last night and, having spent the night at his house, again this morning. I suppose that it's inherent in the business of being a grandparent, and it's even stronger for the fact that this little one carries such a clear genetic imprint of my pipple from out of the Arctic North, with ears that remind me of the Elvish blood from his grandfather's fey side of the family. But I cannot hold this child without being transported to that feeling: I am with my father's father's fathers. (And my blonde, fair-skinned mother's blonde mother's mothers.) And I am, literally, with my son's son's sons.

Son and DiL got home last night as the debates were starting and they allowed G/Son to stay up to see "Pweswident Obama." It's how we do things in my family; the only nights I can ever remember being allowed to stay up late were presidential conventions and debates, when I'd sit with my dad and get treated as if I were a thinking person and as if that were really OK. And I was watching McCain lose to Obama and realizing: I was wrong earlier this year. I figured that if, and it was an if, if Obama could win in the racist States of America, it would be by a v narrow margin. I was wrong. It looks as if not only is America poised to elect an African American president, but she's prepared to do it by a landslide. She takes her time, but every now and then, America makes you proud. Dr. King said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. He was right. I looked at my two-year old G/Son and realized that when Obama ends his second term, G/Son will be ten years old. The only president he will have ever known will have been an African American president. That will be the norm for him. The first president that I really remember was Kennedy, who died when I was seven. Johnson assumed office and was president until I was eight. G/Son's reference will be an America where the president is African American.

G/Son loves my iPhone. Ever since he was little, I've kept it loaded with YouTubes that he likes in order to, for example, keep him amused when the brunch order takes a while to come out of the kitchen or when, as this morning, his 'rents are running around getting things ready and packing things up. Over time, what's on my iPhone has morphed from mostly Elmo to mostly The Jungle Book to Dinosaurs. Last night, G/Son told me, "Nonna, I like Batman and Spiderman." When he was watching the Dinosaurs on my iPhone he said, "Nonna, can there be Batman on your iPhone?" Of course, there could be. G/Son is at that stage where he can watch the same three minute animation over and over and tell you the story each time. "Look. Two bad guys. They set a fire. That's bad; fires can hurt Bambi. Here comes Batman in his mobile car. He throws the boomerang at the bad guys. That's one of his special tools. Batman catches the bad guys and my mommy [the prosecutor] makes them go to jail. There's Batman standing on the roof." And then we do it again. Only, G/Son wants to manipulate the iPhone himself. "No. Me do it." And, he can. He can manipulate the virtual objects on the screen ("That's the screen. Don't touch it when it's playing; that makes it stop.") Again, I sit there, a child of the fifties, and realize, "I am with my son's son's sons."

It's going to be so much fun.

Light posting over the next few days and that only if blogger's "future posting" feature really works. Some v generous souls have offered me their cabin for the weekend and it's that time just before Samhein when, witch that I am, I need time alone in nature for introspection. Back on Tuesday.


Anne Johnson said...

Not only will he grow up with an African American president, he'll grow up with no fear of advanced technology. Lucky kid!

My parents would never let me stay up under any circumstances, which is why I'm glad all the rocket launches and touchdowns happened during the day. I got to see every one of them -- it is a potent memory.

Enjoy the lucky cabin!

ntodd said...

I *loved* Pillar. What a great story.