I’m starting to get excited about #grandkidsfriday. These two. Hand in hand. Last Friday. Every Friday. Cousins. Growing up together. grandkidsfriday=best day of the week
When you have a granddaughter in Bali, you know her life is different than if she were raised here. And when I saw this photo, 3 years ago, I realized just how different her life is. Because this is Jazz, age 5, ‘piecing with a krink mop’ according to her dad, my son Evan, outside their house in Bali, free to be as abstract as her inner muse takes her. #daughteroftwoartists #baligirl#grandkidsarethebest #truelove
Our Bali granddaughter, our beloved Jazz came to Brentwood with me where I taught a writing class as she read and drew and thoroughly enchanted the class. Afterwards, we went out for ice cream. And here she is, almost 7, pure sweetness and beauty, sharing a moment of love with me. In six weeks, I leave for Bali to celebrate her 8th birthday in her home, where she was born in a bathtub of frangipani flowers, delivered into the loving hands of midwife Ibu Robin Lim. I was the first to hold her, after her mama and papa. When they handed her to me I was overcome with love. I’m still overcome with love for Jazz. I haven’t been with her since August and she says she’s waiting until I arrive to cut her hair. I’m waiting, too, Jazz. For the moment you’re in my arms again, always deeply familiar despite the months and the miles. That’s what love does. Keeps us heart to heart. Keeps us deeply connected. Always. Our beloved Jazz..
The little monsters are coming! #grandkidsfriday
So…. Caroline Leavitt wrote a gorgeous essay in Amy Ferris’ powerful anthology, SHADES OF BLUE about how Caroline felt when her son left for college: “Life without Max. The sorrow rides under the joy, like a burr stuck to us, or a rudder propelling us forward. I miss him in all his stages…” Her words made me cry. Because that’s how I feel about our beloved granddaughter Jazz, who lives in Bali, although I never had the words for it before. Yes, we have two incredible grandkids here in town. Yes, we see them every Friday. And of course we adore them. But we only see Jazz about every 6 months. And I often feel I miss her in all her stages. So, because of the clarity from Caroline’s words (thank you!) I will be going to Bali for Jazz’s 8th birthday on April 6. And I’m going to bring some of these cookies with her favorite book titles: Matilda, The BFG, Charlotte’s Web, etc. See you in a few, Jazz!
Seven years ago on April 6 at 1:14 PM, our exquisite Jazz (Jasmine Rue Seelig Sugerman) was born in a bathtub in Bali, delivered into the hands of magnificent Robin Lim, midwife to the babies of the world, one year later the CNN Hero of the Year. (Please see Yayasan Bumi Sehat.) I was honored to be in that bathroom when Jazz was born as Ibu Robin told my son, Evan, to speak to her so his voice would be the first she ever heard. Marcelle, her mama, was luminous with love for her baby. Marcelle’s mother, Miriam Seelig, was chanting Hebrew prayers. Candles were burning. The bathtub was filled with frangipani flowers. Through my tears, I saw the ghosts of my ancestors, lost in the Holocaust, gathered in the corner of the room, welcoming this new life with such great joy. I was lucky to be the third person to hold Jazz, as she still reminds me. Being a part of such a miracle is still, today, the most memorable moment of my life. In the coming days, Jazz was blessed with ceremonies and graced us with her beatific smile. Today, seven years later, she continues to grace us with her beauty, great love, kindness and hilarious laughter. I love you, Jazz, more than I can ever say. I’ve loved you every moment of your life. And today I wish you the happiest of birthdays — all the way across the 8,000 miles that divide us (physically) while I am always with you, as you are always with me.