Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving has come and gone and was certainly enjoyed by the seven of us at Benji's house. Pip was the center of attention most of the time and his four adoring grandparents admired and appreciated this baby beyond measure. He was well aware of his captive audience, too, and once, when our focus was directed elsewhere, he picked up his blanket and bottle and headed upstairs, as if to say, "Ok, folks, show's over for tonight. Come back tomorrow for the second act." He's a charming child who, no doubt, has a ton of intelligence and personality and a bright future. What a joy!

Bella and Phin spent Thanksgiving with their father in Memphis, so we got to see what Pip is like without them. He plays alone well, always busy, busy, busy with his trucks, cars and trains, or whatever else interests him at the moment. Frustration usually results in a little "Benji fit," but he's quickly over it and on to something else.

He and Benji have the cutest hugging ritual with heads alternating from right to left to right several times on each other's shoulders. Pip started that, Benji said, and I can see them twenty years from now still doing the same thing. The father and son bond is strong and Benji seems to be maturing more easily as a result of fatherhood. It's changed him, softened the hard edges, broadened his perspective, and enlarged his emotional range. He seems happier than I've ever known him to be, not nearly as melancholy and cynical as he's been in the past. Maybe most of the pain of estrangement from his own father has healed and he's drawing on the strength of the bond he shared with my father, who cared for him in a similar manner to the one he has with Pip. He's good at it, wherever he got it, I'm thankful.

Billy and Mamie, Karen's parents, are not leaving until Sunday morning, but Mike and I came home yesterday. We had a pleasant trip and got home in time to retrieve our puppies from the kennel. Gus and Jay-Jay were ecstatic. I don't know who was gladdest to be back in our own bed, us or them.

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