A Good Home

Babies and Books

Shall we start with the best part first?

Our grandbaby was christened a week ago. In our garden. Well, on the deck overlooking the garden.

The sun shone warmly, the birds sang a variety of tunes, and the sweet babe, dressed in her beautiful lace christening gown, was secure and placid in her father’s arms.  Her mother and grandparents beamed with joy while the priest and deacon conducted the sacred ceremony.

The majority of the audience — family members and godparents — attended from afar, by Skype, Zoom and Google Hangout, via laptop computers.

A christening in a garden, attended via the internet? We live in unusual times.

But much of life continues as usual. It’s summer and gardening weather – which is not to say I’m gardening much, but that I’m enjoying the sight and sound of the garden.  The water in the fountain gently flows. Hummingbirds feed on the red bee balm.  Mother and father wren share parenting and housecleaning duties – the hatching and feeding, the nest-cleaning. 

Our daughter does a great imitation of a wren, flapping ‘wings’ and all.  She says the phrase ‘busy as a bee’ should be changed to ‘busy as a wren’ because these birds never seem to take a break.

To give her parents a break, I take my granddaughter around the garden, pointing out the birds, the flowers, the leaves, the trees and the running water. She looks and listens intently, as if reflecting.

Our potted plants gave me cause for reflection this summer – on how gardening plans can go awry.  My colour scheme of yellow, white and blue in one ‘room’ of the garden was ruined when the yellow canna lilies turned out to be ‘coral’ coloured – mislabeled.  I scowled, then promptly decided to enjoy coral.

Funny — once you get over the early terror of the pandemic, and the intense focus on being safe, you can decide to enjoy this enforced ‘staycation’.  It helps to note and give thanks for our great privileges — among them reasonably good health, spending time with family, and being in frequent touch with loved ones who live elsewhere.

I am at the stage of deep gratitude.

Small privileges matter too. I stuck with and finished reading a book at last — something I couldn’t do while my anxiety was high. A second reading of “Dust” by Martha Grimes.

Reading it this time took so long that I noticed something I hadn’t before: the new female police boss, a powerful character of Latin American heritage, was used to spice up Grimes’ British murder mystery series — then thrown away in a disappointing deus ex machina ending. Worthy of a James Bond movie, perhaps, but I expected better from this author.

Perhaps I also noticed it because the racial injustice leading to the Black Lives Matter protests have made me more reflective these days. I notice things more. Like whose stories are told and valued, whether in monuments or on television. 

And who gets thrown away.

It’s real life, and it colours even how I read a book.

Real life has a big claim on my time right now.  I tinker around the edges of previously written material, but haven’t done much book-writing.   The time required is better spent with my grandbaby, I know. 

The book will still be there – but she is growing so fast and I want to both help her parents and bear witness to her growth.


My special thanks to bloggers and readers of my books who send me email notes. Stay safe and be well.







26 thoughts on “Babies and Books”

  1. You are doing what you need to do. What times we live in! So glad to read your daughter, husband, and child are with you. What a mess it is in the United States. It seems as though most every country has put a stop to people traveling in from the United States. Stay safe. Be well. And give that baby a kiss on the cheek for me.

  2. I think your beautiful garden is the perfect place for your grandchild’s christening, even if not everyone could be there in body. Enjoy your time with her. It is precious just like she is.

  3. Congrats on the christening of your granddaughter and the joys of sharing time with family and garden. I admire your ability to find gratitude during these unusual times. May your family, home, and garden continue to fill your cup with love. Hugs and butterflies! 🌺

  4. Your granddaughter’s christening in the garden is wonderful news! Blessings to Vivian and her family! I would love to hug you all, and hold that precious baby. ❤

    I agree with Laurie, you are doing what you need to do during these times. And I hear you when you say you notice who gets thrown away. Things in the world are not right. I only hope the world can move forward towards being a much better place for people of color. I am ashamed the tipping point has been reached, again.

  5. A grand baby is a wonderful antidote to what we see happening around us. Keep family close and stay safe. Sending hugs.

  6. I enjoyed your post and our best wishes to your grandbaby. Life has become different everywhere. I will tell my daughter about your book for children. Our grandchildren love listening to stories and reading. Our grandson will be seven next week and grand daughter will be three in November. Take care. Regards.

  7. Congratulations on the christening Cynthia and I’m glad the whole family is able to enjoy the garden. It’s interesting what you say about reading that book – after I’d studied women’s studies I found it very hard to watch a film or read a book without looking at how it portrayed women. Very recently I watched a movie, Den of Thieves, in which a white cop beat up a black man for information – not the first time I’m sure, but this time I found it extremely hard to watch and felt sick watching it.

  8. Congratulations on Vivian’s christening!
    I am glad your anxiety is abating and you’ve been able to finish a book. It is a pity the author threw away a character who ought to have been saved.

  9. Congratulations on your granddaughter’s christening. The garden setting must have been perfect even with coral instead of the yellow. 😃Gratitude is such a wonderful feeling and during this time of lockdown, I’m finding myself more grateful for what I have and also the people, especially family that I don’t get to see except on FaceTime. One day things will improve and we’ll look back on this as a period of renewal and new awakenings. I have to believe that the dire situation in this country will eventually bring about much needed change.

  10. Having a grandchild to spend time with and seeing the world through their eyes is a very special gift, and it sounds like you are enjoying it to the fullest. They grow up so fast. The christening sounds perfect, as least as perfect as it gets in 2020. 🙂

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