A Change of Pace

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I spent most of my thirties and forties moving as fast as I could-- running, cycling, snowshoing-- and rearing five children. Then at 45 I was hit by a truck, which slowed me down in lots of ways. But that was seven years ago, and I have been steadily picking up the pace, with both work and play. Then two years ago I became a grandmother, and now I have two grandbabies, with one more due this spring. They all live within walking distance of my house. If I wasn't going to be running a marathon anytime soon, I figured I might as well add a puppy to the mix. (Pearl is 4 months old.) Last night the mothers and babies came to dinner (all of our husbands are out of town) and when they left, it was my heart that was most full.  I can't believe I am this rich. How did such a thing happen? (Well, of course I undertsand where babies come from, but I never expected to be a grandmother until I was old-- or at least had an ample busom and soft-aproned lap. Then again, that could be a long wait.) Yesterday before breakfast I walked the puppy, and instead of coming home we went next door to my daughter's house. I sat in a comfy chair holding a sleeping infant for an hour while Stoli showered and ate. I just sat there like a lump, doing nothing but listening to baby snuffles and puppy dreams.  Here is the crazy truth: holding a baby is as good for my heart as a five mile jog. But there's more. My new favorite workout is  taking Pearl and my toddling grandaughter Caroline out on the mud flats in our backyard. We don't walk as much as we saunter. We stop a lot, to look and listen. There is so much to notice. The way the slushy ice swirls in the river, the sound of a raven's wings flapping. Wet rocks.  We go faster sometimes, but only because we are chasing snowflakes, or when the wind pushes us.  I like this pace. My young companions have taught me to slow down enough to be astonished,  delighted, and curious about  every little bit of this marvelous world we live in.

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