D and his great-grandmother celebrate Thanksgiving. The years she has seen and the piles of children who have grown up to be adults, some even with children of their own, are professed in the lines on her face and the gray in her hair. The exuberant smile, wide eyes and flawless skin with a toothless grin on the nearly youngest in the family tree shows the opposite. Someday we will all wear our years like badges, just like Grandma does. For now, our years are silently adding until that certain decade where several are pinned on at once

I hope that D has a chance to talk with his great-grandmother, especially so that he can know who she is as a person. Even now though, it’s hard. In every picture she looks more and more tired, at every gathering she forgets more and more people. But for now, at least, she remembers D. Sometimes she calls him by his dad’s name, but at least she’s got the right branch of the tree. Just by the way she watches him you can tell that she loves the little boy. Her eyes light up when I carry him into the room, and she is pleased as punch that she is the first person I hand him to – she is always the first person, any time she is there.

Can you imagine all the smiles that she has seen? Yet each one is special in it’s own right and each one is still a joy for her to see. And how many smiles are left in D’s arsenal – what an incredible number that must be! The juxtaposition of the oldest and the nearly youngest is so powerful, so striking.


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