This coming weekend, Pam, Kaitlin and I will make the drive to Princeton, New Jersey. The famous Westminster Choir will be in concert on Sunday. Kaitlin will get to see Princeton for the first time, and we all will get to hear this phenomenal choir for the first time. There will be a morning of sight-seeing and good food. It will be the first time that all four of us will have been together since July. Then, two weeks later we will be together again for Thanksgiving. Sensational!
Last night I was reading A Moveable Feast while listening to Ella Fitzgerald on Pandora, but could concentrate on neither. All I could think about was how it seems like just a few months ago when the four of us were crammed into a booth at Friendly’s enjoying sundaes after a day of Little League baseball at Tuckahoe. Pam would be consoling Kaitlin over some tough last inning loss, while I was trying to get Patrick to stop kicking his sister underneath the table. It was my daughter who was the intense, brutal competitor, while my son’s favorite part of the game was wearing the cool catcher gear.
In Princeton, we will sit around a much more sophisticated table. The conversation will be of things literary and musical. Pam and I will glance at each other in the midst of it with astounded wonder at what we have managed to present to the world. They, after all, will one day be our replacements. In more ways than I can begin to articulate, they will be a vast improvement, not because we were such great parents, but because of something both fascinating and ethereal, the constant visitation of God’s grace in their lives. Often it took the form of talents, endowed upon them at birth, flowered into maturity by skilled and loving teachers. When I consider the impact that people like Larry and Diane Collawn, Sherri Matthews, Mark and Joanne Terlep, and Jeremy Welborn had on the two of them, it is impossible to calculate. When I think of the incredible people in the extended family to which they are connected by blood, I realize that some of their success is indeed hereditary. No two kids on Earth have been endowed with such a loving and supportive tribe of uncles, aunts and cousins. Surely such love and acceptance helped sculpt their self-image as human beings of value and worth. Whatever it was and however it happened, Pam and I are two lucky parents.
Yes, can’t wait for the weekend. I’ll let you know if Patrick kicks his sister under the table for old time’s sake.