Yesterday was a near perfect day for this mom and grandma and I have dozens of photos to prove it. My son Tony, daughter-in-law Gretchen, and grandsons Henry (nearly 8) and Fritz (6) spent a beautiful sunny day at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, CA.
One of the special exhibits at the Library was "Charles Bukowski: Poet on the Edge" and Tony and I have been long-time admirers of Bukowski. When I realized the exhibit was near the end, Tony arranged for all of us to have a day at the Huntington. Can a mom and grandma ask for anything more ecstatic than to spend special time together?
This is grandma Fran, Henry and Fritz in the Chinese Garden. Though we had not planned it that way, this was the Huntington's Celebration of Chinese New Year weekend and there were dozens of special events going on throughout the grounds. But, the 30 minutes Tony and I spent together combing the Bukowski exhibit is something I will always remember. He'll be 44 next month, but to me he'll always be my youngest son.
The Helen and Peter Bing Children's Garden is a magical place; the only other time I had seen it was in the rain in October when the park was closed but a group I was in got a special tour. So, now that I got to experience it with lots and lots of little kids, including two of my favorite six grandkids (I love you all the same--grandkids range from 23 to 2), I was particularly enchanted because of the prior knowledge I had from the head gardener but experienced through kids eyes. This picture is taken in an area that periodically spews out what surely is believed to be magical mist by the children.
As the family waited for my son Tony to bring around the car after our hours in the park, Gretchen asked each boy what had been his favorite part of the garden today. And then she asked me. I paused a moment and said the Camellia Garden. As we left the Chinese Garden there was a path away from the crowds and we followed it into what we soon realized was the camellia garden. It was very shaded and quiet, but the sound of rushing water could be heard below. Huge and varied camellia bushes surrounded us and were mixed in with all kinds of other foliage and flowers including spectacular cherry trees dripping with blossoms.
In the hush, I got teary eyed watching Henry kind of swinging slowly in front of this site on a piece of chain link defining the path. Birds were trilling back and forth and far off in the distance I could hear a Chinese ensemble playing music in the pavilion. Only a few people besides us were in this area at that time. Life doesn't get much better than this I thought then--and now.
And this is my son and daughter-in-law who have been happily married nine years and known each other for 12 years. Both my daughters-in-law are incredible women and I am deeply appreciative that the two couples found each other in the complexity of this thing called life.
So, Rebecca, at Corazon: Stumbling Towards Ecstasy Sunday, that's an example of my stumble this weekend.