One of the many joys of having four grandparents, each emanating from a uniquely different center of our world, is this: you get to experience life through the sparkles of a rich diversity.
You get to travel and live in places some consider exotic, but which to you are simply parts of the fabric of your being. You experience life alongside people who look, sound, feel and behave in intriguingly different ways. You have no clue during your early years that others find difference suspect or strange or challenging. Each continent – of uncles, of aunts, of colorful arrays of cousins and their loved ones – is indelibly a part of you; you are part of each and all of them. You know no other way.
When you are the son of a brilliant youth who out of ploy as much as pleasure, and pain as much as plan, lifts you onto her lap and reads to you in operatic nuances the works of Austen, Joyce, Steinbeck, Lewis, Kipling, Langston, Douglas, and the like, whilst many of those toddling nights are being spent – out of unrevealed necessity – carving and contouring the sky’s dazzling constellations, how would you not but have an expansive, inclusive, encompassing view of life, and who would want a life valued any less?
When your dad, a scholar, a creative mind, ‘boy-fully’ grabs your pubescent years and hops you through great halls of literature and galleries of fine art; when his weekends are pleasurably spent debating in highfalutin tones Aristotle and Plato, Martin and Malcolm, Stalin and Mao Zedong, Roosevelt and Churchill, with like-minded intellectuals, while you watch like a prop-chinned cherubim, booze flowing down tickled throats, like milk into honey, until that garden senate is flushed to a sleepy slur, such that he who is able to sputter the last word can claim victory in that debate, until another Saturday sun-down … well!
Is there any wonder you’d enjoy exploring, inside and out, nooks and crannies, marvels and mountains, forests and brushes, rivers and streams, mind and body, people of every kind and type and manner of being, yes, humanity’s soul?
Would there be any surprise to discover yourself fashioned in the mold of a storyteller with a breadth of curiosity so deep you are ever being and becoming who you are – a sober writer, an athlete, an actor, an engineer, a lover of art and science and technology, a creator, an innovator, a coach, a bright-eyed bushy-tailed hugger, smiler, encourager – yes – even an angel’s apprentice?
Best of all, perhaps, is that life’s crucible has forged it all into this: a drive, a passion, a desire to keep teasing from life’s messiness sweet joys and sanity and viable solutions and bonds that keep reminding each and all of us, saying, “This is your life, only you can live it. You Are Not Alone!”
Here I am.
Live. Laugh. Love.
“This is YOUR life; only YOU can LIVE IT.”