Monday, May 30, 2016


Scarlett Star 5/30/14

Scarlett Star was born in a New Mexico birthing room that was perched on the top floor of the Farmington hospital and overlooked the whole city.  We had a view during the night, the sunrise, and a sun-filled day.  Thirty-six hours after labor had formally started, Rikki, unable to smile or pose for pictures sank back into her pillow, exhausted.  

Scarlett was immediately taken and put under a light, as the birthing staff tried to ascertain her health. 

Eventually, she was weighed, measured, and handed over to her father, Vince, my son.  Scarlett relaxed into his arms.  The scene will never leave me. 

Scarlett was finally here.

The birth of a child is wild and unpredictable—a perfect precursor of their life.  Scarlett had to stay in the hospital extra days to be treated for jaundice.  

Under the ultraviolet lights, she wore sunglasses and looked like a cool cat.  Vince held her on his lap so she would feel cuddled, rather than parked.  Eventually she came home and Bruno, the family dog, accepted her as his baby. 

Scarlett was the first child to be born after Mario and I returned from South Africa.  While I rejoiced that we were so close, the family still lived miles away in New Mexico.  I begged them to return to California, where I offered safe lodging and free babysitting.  The offer posed an interesting dilemma: California was Vince’s home; New Mexico was Rikki’s. 

Where would Scarlett find her home?  The answer, as it is for all children, is in the safety of her family.  The father and mother’s connection with a growing child is the most important thing in the formative years.  Vince and Rikki’s closeness to Scarlett was essential to the baby becoming a safe and secure person.  

When Scarlett turned a year old, we could see she was a secure and content baby. Happy, curious, and connected, she didn’t fear going out, wanted connection with others, and even exhibited a sense of humor.  Our favorite picture of her was in a knitted Yoda hat she loved to wear and wiggle side to side.

Last year, Vince and Rikki decided to move “back” to California, where we had set up the room upstairs for them.  Our prayers were answered!  After getting used to us, Scarlett started socializing regularly with us and we have actively participated in her growth.  Any grandparent can tell you that each step is a miracle. 

Today Scarlett Star turns two.  She is amazingly independent.  She is not a cuddly grandchild, but rather someone who wants to participate in every activity we are a part of.  From eating diner to washing the dishes, she engages like she is one of us – and she is.  At two years old she loves water, and finds it wherever she can.  Her outside pool, the dog’s bowls, the bathtub – are all invitations to splash and guffaw with delight. 

Now and then Scarlett wants a hug.  She cuddles into my neck with sincerity and tenderness, making me feel like I could die and go to heaven at that moment.  She is wonderful and special.
Happy Birthday, Scarlett Star!  You are an amazing little ball of JOY!!