Bosque County, Texas, USA
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APRIL 18, 2012 3:50PM

Living with Hope

Rate: 34 Flag


     It wasn't so very long ago, I just figured I would be dead soon enough. It is a poor woman's way of dealing with some overwhelming stress. I was in denial, measurably so. If I knew my life were short, then I couldn't be expected to shape up, toe the line, proof the pudding, and so on. I am lazy, to be sure, but more than that, I was avoiding conflict, pain, reality, and a scoop of life. It proved my best axiom, "Denial can get you through some pretty hard times."

     So, problems were dismissed with the excuse that I'd never live long enough to have to deal with them. Really, it took a big load of worry off my shoulders, and it allowed me to fake my way through, smiling and waving.

     My daughter is not like me in this respect. She worries at a problem like a dog on a bone. She approaches it from all angles, sleeps with it at night, brings it up in case someone has forgotten. This is her coping mechanism, and I respect it. Everybody needs to cope, somehow.

     She has worried her way through graduate school, education bills, finding and marrying a good guy, and having a child. None of this came easily, but that last bit, the birth of my grandson, is an amazing achievement. Proud isn't a big enough word for what I feel about my daughter. 

dida-mama-baby     Eshan is three months old now, and he and I are coming to an arrangement. When I am in his vicinity, I hope that I am holding him. I am comfortable holding him against my chest, letting him face out. I feel like I can control his movements -- that big head can go wildly swinging and his neck muscles are still developing in strength to hold it -- and he likes the opportunity to look around, try out some new sounds in his approximation of speech, seek and find some entertainment in the adoring faces around him.

     Here are the three of us, Dida (that's me -- Hindi for mother's mother), Mama, and Baby. We are marking tradition, posing in the bluebonnets, as all good Texans are supposed to do. I love that we all squint alike.

eshan     When I am not holding him, I am photographing him. He seems to like the camera, he always studies the lens and waits patiently for me to pose him. I am in fear of boring others, but his face, his personality, and his very being are fascinating to me.   

     I find myself, now, going through a change of heart. No longer do I plan to die and thereby save myself the trouble of getting my act together. No longer do I look with lonely eyes at the years ahead of me. Without warning, I know I want to see him grow and learn and be himself. I want to see the world that he sees. I want to share some part of that world. 

     I want him to remember me.




     I haven't wrapped my head around the thought that a day might come when he would bring his own child for me to hold.

     One hope at a time.


images © diana ani stokely 2012
(click on the photos to enlarge) 

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family, photography, dianaani

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It's amazing isn't it? How children change our lives. :-)
I could just cry you all are so beautiful. (Especially Eshan.)
"When I am not holding him, I am photographing him."
Perfect. ~r
Love this peek at your heart strings being pulled, and your hope balloon expanding and taking off.
What an amazing post, the last photo is gold, just gold.
Wow, you have me on the verge of tears, Diana. Beautiful post, beautiful family! xo
He is precious. I hope one day I will have a Hope of my own!
" It wasn't so very long ago, I just figured I would be dead soon enough. It is a poor woman's way of dealing with some overwhelming stress."

" So, problems were dismissed with the excuse that I'd never live long enough to have to deal with them."

"No longer do I plan to dive and thereby save myself the trouble of getting my act together. No longer do I look with lonely eyes at the years ahead of me."

Those three groupings of words say so much. Such a turn around from despair to joy. It's so wonderful that you made that journey.

And he is a cutie.
Lovely, lovely ... all your hopes. Lovely world he helps you see.
PeelingAnOrange, I had no idea this would happen to me now. I thought it was for other people.

Joan, thanks, ever. I wish I had days and days with him beside me. I would probably go totally bonkers.

dirndl skirt, thanks. it is unexpected but nice. a little scary how fast things change!

thank you, thank you, rita. My mom stealing a kiss made me laugh! I cannot blame her, though.

Erica, yeah, it is so heart grabbing to love someone like that. Thank you for your kind words.

Bell, you have a long wait if your children are anything like mine. I hope you will too, though.

phyllis45's Bright Eyes, thank you. It is quite the turnaround for me, and I am not quite sure how it all works, but it is fun to think on.

yeah, annaliese, he does help me. that little baby is a joy and a gift.
We can see the future in the eyes of our children and their children. We cannot close out the desire to keep the world whole for them. You have arrived at the maternal of the maternal, the place of great wisdom. Love the pictures they seem to convey love.
Love the photo of the generations. What it's all about.
Lovely Di.
I got tears...
Oh,D this is just so wonderful...okay I could cry........this was soa unexpected and so very wonderful. Best reason I've heard in a long time to get you act together. You are very lucky.r
Sheila, I like that, mother's mother, like a word of power.
Sarah, ah thanks!
Mission, me too!
Hugs, me... Aw don't get me started. I read that Hemingway quote again today, "writing's easy, just pull up a typewriter, and bleed." when I wrote this, my eyes stng with tears, too.
good thing this isn't a video comment since i'm awash at the moment, tears splashing all around. i know these things you write about, diana, and you understand them. believe me when i tell you that you will understand them even better as the months and years go by. such incredible beauty, all of it.
Magnificent crop of people! Thank you for the peek a boo.
What a beautiful post, diana. And what lovely squinting faces.

I am very taken with the sly way you pretend to end this moving, charming, simple but deeply probing post and then hit us with both the four-generation photo and your last reflection.

Artfully done.
I love that you all squint alike too.
My comment seem to post before I was finished. I would add ... very beautiful photos here.
Looks like you have a wonderful family. What a gift.
That last photo is very, very special!

You know, I don't think I've ever given thought to being a great grandma myself ... until now ...and, gee, I don't think I can wrap my head around it either. Not yet ... But wow ... what a thing to hope for, huh?

A beautiful post, Diana.
My legs are tingling with those goosebumps that affirm my soul has been touched. Beautiful post; beautiful photography; and a beautiful family!
Candace, i know you know. Now you know i know! Ha! Yes, my heart must grow to hold it all.

Greenheron, you're so welcome. And thanks.

At Home Pilgrim, ya got me there. I appreciate you. I could see no other way to do it.

Thank you, Scarlett. I look forward to seeing your spring photos, too.

PatienceP, thanks! I feel like I've been given a great gift, for sure.

Thank you, Kate! I don't think I'll ever see a great-grandchild, but I am not complaining. I am happy being Eshan's Dida.

Thank you very much, I Love Life. That is a fine compliment.
Here's to New Lives !
Reason enough to keep the batteries charged.
Love this post and yes, it did bring a tear to my eye. My new 3 mo. old grandson Colin stared at me on Skype yesterday and I ached to hold him and feel his skin on my face. I envy you this totally adorable one. No one can lift you up as much as a child. Great post!
PS. Colin's sis Shelby(soon to be 4)pointed to me and said on Skype,"You make my heart happy!" Yes, it tore me up!!!
Darling boy, I'm so glad that little bundle of light is in your life!
sigh.. this just made me cry..
Lovely my friend, lovely
Thanks, Bea! I know you won't mind my gushing on and on about little Eshan. I appreciate that.

Yep, Kim, I'll raise a toast to that. Ain't life great?

Interrobang, yes, now I have no excuse to fall back on. (ended with a preposition, didn't I?)

cindy, thanks. I kept putting my nose into Eshan's hair and drinking in his smell. Colin and Shelby are lucky to have you as their Grandma.

Anne, thank you, yes. He makes everyone smile who is in his vicinity.

Well, Linda, you can't be crying! But I know that beautiful sadness of wishes and dreams, and the desire to leave a trace of your existence, too.
Oh D. I am so happy for all of you. They are so beautiful. They look just like you. Congrats. My grand daughter is 900 miles away. I can only view her through someone else's lens. :0( R
Awww! What an endearing, loving and happy piece; thank you, D, you made my day. And what a beautiful family. R
Blu, I hope you'll hold your grandchild real soon. Thanks for coming by to read and comment.

Thoth, that's very kind. I appreciate you.
Your joy is my joy. Thank you for bringing us into your world full of possibilities. The last photo could easily illustrate a play I wrote called Special Powers. It's about 4 generations of women...
What a wonderful piece!

Do me a favor and pass along to your daughter one of the many wise things that Mark Twain said:

I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
Such beautiful photos, you are so fortunate to have such love growing up before your eyes.
rated with love
this tore at my heart, and made me miss my Mom, and my grandmother God rest her soul. Life for today...always. /r
I have a friend whose current attitude matches your former one. "We're all gonna be dead for a long time," he says. I wish he could connect the dots and conclude that it's best to try and stay alive as long as you can.
Thanks for your patience.

Linnnn, I think you better get this photo with your play, and post/publish it!

Thanks, Brassawe, I will tell her you said that. She will be glad to know she is in such good company.

Romantic Poetess, thank you, that is a pretty way to say it, having love grow up before my eyes.

MichelleD, ah yeah, I miss those who've already died, but so glad I had the chance to know them, and remember them. I guess you write about your love for your mom and grandmother?

Con, it is deceptively easy to fall into that pattern of thought. I hope your friend will get a push in the right direction too. Thank you for coming by.
Congrats to all of you - nothing says eternity so much as a grandbaby!
Lovely, lovely post. And I adore the pictures - your daughter looks like you. And your grandchild is beautiful. Glad you've come to this point in your life. Grandchildren are amazing that way. That "saving our lives" way.
thanks, kit, for the kind words. I haven't wrapped my head around eternity, but am working on this decade at least.

unbreakable, I hadn't realized how my life needed saving, and that this little guy would have a hand in it. still coming to terms. thanks!