Hi. Â Today has been a very deep day for me, and as such I asked Maggey to let me utilize her favored form of reflection in writing tonight’s blog.
I want to talk about Life.
Today was Tess’ “baptism”/”holy dunking thing”. In the living room of Grandpa Mike and Grandma Sassy, weÂ dedicatedÂ her to a life of introspection and committed to support her in her life-long journey of discovery. Â Suitably, she was less than impressed by the whole “cold water in the face” thing but was quite accepting of the snuggling of her Godfather Max and Godmother Patty.
Max has informed me that it will be suitable to start crafting the future requests “that you will ask him on this, the day of his goddaughter’s wedding.” (He asks that you give him advanced warning of anything over $100 or anything that might require illegal acts that he may make suitable arrangements.)
As I stood there holding Tess, my mind went to the potential in her life. Â We are so caught up in the seeming of things, that often, we forget that the stone that we choose for a kitchen, or the clothes that we wear to a party are so transitory that it really doesn’t matter when the chips are down.
My parents spent a week with us and I had the good fortune of watching my two families interact and find common ground, not in politics or even religion, but in the celebration of family and of life. Â My parents and my in-laws had so much to talk about by just comparing notes that they could have easily spent another week alone without anyone else present simply talking about children and the world as theyÂ perceivedÂ it. Â The greatest of topics that they had in common was Tess.
Our beautiful daughter came to this world in thunderclap, and none of our lives have been the same since. Â On this day, we asked a rhetorical question: “will you support this child on her journey through life?” TheÂ resoundingÂ answer was: “Duh!!!”
When Tess was in Salt Lake City, we had a great deal of support. Â Our birth parents Kat and Spencer, all of our fabulous nurses, our families and our friends; all of these were instrumental in bringing us to this day of dedication. Â I held my child, all 12+ pounds of her, and my mind wandered to how polarizing she has been to my life and the lives of others. Â In this moment, I wished her all the luck in the world, and I hoped that she would find her happiness and her bliss.
As a parent, I truly understand the feelings of trepidation that my own parents have occasionally voiced about every decision that I have ever made. Â From my first step as a toddler, to my first steps as an adoptive parent, they have had to live their lives with their hearts on a string. Â Every bump, every heartache, has been multiplied by the collective psyche of all four of my doting parents. Â Any time I feel anything, they will as well. Â It it simply the nature of things.
Today, holding my daughter, I felt love, support, and joy; and it made me grateful and sad. Â For today, in our planned moments of dedication and support, I was also reeling from the unexpected news that I had lost a dear friend.
My friend Sean, was a brash and boisterous person when I first knew him. Â His goal in life was to forceable find a purpose. Â A fearless and joyful soul with a slightly wicked sense of humor, Sean was not to be shackled by rules. Â Be they the laws of society or the clutches of gravity, he would question and challenge them all. Â I had known Sean well, but we had lost touch over the last few years.
I held Tess and I was reminded of the time that we had recently spend with Sean and his lovely wife Paula in Salt Lake City. Â They had moved there,Â unbeknownstÂ to us, and having heard of our dear daughter’s plight, they had spent quality time giving us aÂ friendlyÂ voice and aÂ reassuringÂ hug while we waited for Tess’ to gather her strength. Thanks to Tess’, I got spend time with Sean and Paula and truly get to know where they were in their life journey.
Sean had found a beautiful woman to share his life with and he had also found something that he loved to do that fulfilled him. Â Yesterday, despite a monumental amount of experience, Sean had an accident while base jumping. Â He was 35, and he perished doing what he loved to do.
I think of Sean, and I think of Tess and I am greatly moved. Â Without Tess, I would not have reconnected with Sean and gotten to know Paula. Â One of the lessons I learned from Sean was that life was short and you should pursue your bliss. Â The funny thing was that when I first knew Sean, he had no bliss. Â The Sean I met because of Tess was one of the most content and complete people that I have ever known.
Therefore, on this day of dawn and dusk, I am thankful for the gift of life, its potential, its promise and its fruition.
So much to look forward to! You and Maggey will spend your time alternating between pushing Tess forward and biting your nails to the knuckles after she starts moving. I so look forward to sharing your journey as this happens and realizing that I no longer have to be the one with bloody nails. My love to your entire family.
And Dave, I am so sorry for your loss, but so glad that you got to see Sean loving his life. Hugs.
Ahhhh, there is nothing like the love of a parent for a child. It is probably the closest thing we as human beings have to God’s love for us, and His infinite love is even more amazing. But so is the unconditional love of a parent for a child. Part of the gift of children is to recognize the full circle: realizing how much our own parents have loved and continue to love us. The two of you are great writers, and thank you for sharing this journey. Love is THE BEST!!! I am so glad Tess is home with loving, capable parents, and that she has now been baptized!
Sunday was one heck of a day! So much happy for Tess and the whole Oplinger/White extended family! Tess is just such a beautiful little wonder. I’m so going to enjoy watching her grow up and discover the world.
I’m so mentally beaten up over Sean, but again thankful for Tess. If not for Tess and her prolonged stay in Salt Lake City, I don’t know that I would have gotten to see Sean this year, and certainly wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to spend such a good amount of quality time with him and Paula. Thank you for your amazing little girl who is so good at bringing people together.
Wow. I have no words to express how much this means to me. I’ve been thinking about all of you so much and I”m sorry I haven’t reached out more since you made it back to Wisconsin. Knowing that you are thinking about Sean and me, especially on such a special day, means a lot. Sean was never good at keeping in touch with people, but he had this special ability to pick up with people right where he left off with them. He was very grateful for the opportunity to see you while you were here and to share in such a special time in your life-even after so much time had passed between you. I am grateful to have met such wonderful people through him and also to have been there to share in that moment with you guys. Thank you for this.
Paula, it was our honor. The things that bring us together in the day to day are the same things that unite us in adversity. For all those that we call family and friends, this seems to hold true. Getting know you and Sean at this point in our life was an amazing gift; and we hope to continue beyond this dark time. I found it strange to hold my baby and mourn my friend at the same time, but I know that she will always invoke him in my mind, and bringing back a bit of his quirky humor with every gummy smile. Thank you for sharing him with us.
D, M & T