Today Lew and I arrived home after traveling a winding road from the snows of the High Plains to the sunshine of the West Coast to the deserts of the Southwest and to Emily, Rick and Ronan’s welcoming home in Santa Fe. Our weekend visit with those three wonderful ones and their friends was rich and tender.
When Emily opened their door, we hugged each other close. Ronan was contentedly sitting on their couch, full of smiles as he crinkled the pages of one of his favorite books of colorful sea creatures. When I couldn’t wait another minute, I asked Emily if I could pick him up. He’s a delicious armful and cuddles with his whole body. He would make little cooing sounds in my ear, singing to me as the rest of us talked.
We have known and loved Emily since she was a very young girl. She has played in our yard, and we have picnicked in hers. We have gathered around tables with our extended families to share meals, conversation, and laughter. Emily’s parents are two of our best friends, but our relationship with Emily is more than an extension of that intimacy. We have a separate and cherished friendship with her, and she has given us Rick and Ronan.
I held Ronan for the first time last July (in Cheyenne), played with him in December (in Laramie), and enjoyed our treasured time together in his Santa Fe home. As I fed him his dinner, he would reach gently for the spoon, clearly signaling that he wanted his favorite avocadoes to come a bit faster. He’s a delightful, responsive little guy who warms my heart when he smiles unexpectedly, as if chuckling at little jokes between us.
After Ronan’s dinner, Emily let me follow her around the house as she gave him his bath (not his favorite) and massaged his beautiful little body with oil (he loved it). She allowed me to feed him his bedtime bottle. As I rocked him in the darkened room, Emily sat on the floor nearby so we could talk about big things and little things. I kissed him goodnight as Rick came in for the special bedtime rituals the three of them share.
The next day we arrived at their door at 9 to spend the morning with them before we headed home. As Ronan ate his applesauce, Emily played for us Ronan’s book, On the Day You Were Born, which has a recording of his grandparents, Mary and Roger, reading the text. Amazing. Ronan would catch Lew’s eye and reward him with a big smile. We hung out with Rick and Ronan as Emily and Otherem bounced off to their Zumba class. Rick showed us the many ways he has of keeping Ronan happy and secure in activities that grab his attention and give him pleasure.
Although there is no way to reverse the painful news that has bombarded this precious family, we can shower them with love today, tomorrow, and all the days after that. We are grateful that our long-time friendship continues to flow between us and around us. As Emily and Rick snuggle their beautiful Ronan, we enfold the three of them from afar in a large embrace of love.