Never Break the Chain

I will call into the past, far back to the beginning of time, and beg them to come and help me at the judgment. I will reach back and draw them into me. And they must come, for at this moment, I am the whole reason they have existed at all.

Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) – From “Amistad”

This is only a story I have shared a few times with a few folks but tonight it seems right to share with the world…

Kate had just transitioned to lower the crib phase. Better known as the “she can get her leg over the railing but has zero respect for gravity phase”.

One night after books and snuggles. After the lights out, kisses, hugs and cuddles. I leaned over and arms fully extended lowered her down like a Faberge angel. It was dark but enough lite coming through the window to see her clearly. No toys, no ocean noise maker. Just the two of us.

Leaning over like that, arms out, her so little and deep in the crib and looking squarely down gave a sense of floating. She was my little trapeze artist. She had flipped, twirled and amazed her audience and I was the one who caught her after her finale.

She was awake but still. Fully present with me in that moment.

Not a wiggle or a sigh. Not a tired baby rubbing of the eyes.

Neither the Infinity Gems or a Space Odyssey could compete with those eyes in that moment. I was not glowing blue and no PhD but there I was Dad Manhattan looking through Kate as she was a lens through time and space itself.

This happened.

A literal epiphany.

I ceased to be Sean looking down at Kate. I was Kate looking up at me

I ceased to be Kate and was again Sean but in a crib looking up at my mom.

I ceased to be me and was my mom looking down at her baby boy

I was my mom looking up and Grandma Helen.

I was Grandma Helen looking down at her baby girl.

Perhaps only M.C. Escher could help me explain or visualize the cascading familial loop, the thread I had pulled on infinity’s sweater. Hands drawing hands and stairs that never end. That moment I was so clearly staring through every link before Kate. Staring both down and up. Fully connected to all those that came before.

There Kate was.

Sarah and I had forged another link in our chains.

All the travels and travails. All the persistence and perseverance. ALL the moments from ALL those before laid there in that tiny crib below me.

I am not the most religious person but this experience clarified for me we are soo, soo, soo much more than the moments we tick of the clock or the days we cross off the calendar. We carry so much more of those we love with us than we can express, understand or fathom.

So why share this now?

Sixty four years ago grandma Helen looked down on her Helen for the first time. She and Hank had forged a link of their own. Through Kate’s eyes I was there with them both. Sixty-four years and back in a blink of a blink.

I do not know if mom is looking over me from above, but she is for sure looking though me at Kate and Chloe. She is looking through Brian at Charlie and Vera.

She is looking at her silly son be silly dad through Kate too.

Usually I wish people on their birthday a wonderful, safe, fun and even better lap around the sun than those that came before. Moms first lap started sixty-four years ago, which in time and turns started mine, which in time and turns started Kate’s.

So sit back and enjoy the show mom. I plan on making this next lap of yours a doozy!

Happy Birthday Helen (aka mom)

Thank you for reading


P.S. I did not have a camera that night so here are some substitutes. And its not like Indiana Jones had pictures when the Ark was opened so cut me some slack if these pics don’t match up to the story above. Every word is true.

Main Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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