He is a biologist, physician, naturalist, accomplished storyteller, brilliant thinker and reader, heart-filled spirit. He is also the atheist godfather to our eldest daughter, and a gay man. When our children were growing up, he used to visit, and one time even stayed for a few weeks during a medical rotation. He would get on the floor and play with them, or hold someone in his lap, but he also shook his head at the chaos of our household.
Now he lives with his four children and their mother, and a dog, a cat, a lop-eared rabbit, a corn snake, about 20 chickens and 4 or 5 ducks. Their home is a farm surrounded by acres of fields stretching into the distance. There were all kinds of scenarios I imagined for C. when we were younger, how his life might evolve. But this Norman Rockwellian landscape filled with laughing children, classical music, and livestock was definitely not one of them.
It is certainly an unconventional arrangement, but you could not find a happier, more loving and nurturing environment than this one. Last night was the birthday celebration for their 12 year old. Friends of all ages were visiting. 20 people for dinner. 12 children, all bilingual, chattering in French and English intermittently, playing the piano, holding the rabbit, carrying the snake around the room, playing hand-held computer games, finished the night in a big slumber party on the third floor.
As I sit and type this post, bunny hopped up on the sofa to visit, dog gave him a desultory chase, then went back to the kitchen to lie down by the fireplace. Breakfast preparations well under way. This home is in the thick of child-filled years - the golden years of family, and it brings me back such warm memories. But - I'm ready to be moving on to the next phase. Still - what a lovely place to be enfolded into family, growing, thriving....dynamic. The world is full of wonders, right in the living room.