I’ve become a grandpa. Yes, my husband and I are proud grandpas of a little girl named Piper Marie, and gee, is she ever perfection! She came into this world on December 5th, Saint Nicholas Day in The Netherlands. She is our Hanukkah and Christmas gift, oh, and did I mention, our little angel too?
The creation of a family is truly a miracle. Tom and I adopted our son from Russia in 2004 from a region of Russia near where my Jewish grandparents fled in the early 1900’s. Before adopting Viktor, I had received a gift from a Russian visitor, a tapestry in fact, that came from Smolensk, a medium-size western Russian city near the village in which our son was born. Then on June 19, 1996, the day Viktor was born, I enrolled in Russian language classes. A coincidence perhaps, but one that sends a happy chill down my spine every time I think of it, as if it was all meant to be.
To add even further to the mysterious path of how families come together, I have in my possession a wooden Russian figurine that was brought to the U.S. by my Russian grandparents. She represents a stout and hardened rural woman, a “babushka” who keeps her place in our china cabinet except when she and her equally hearty husband stand guard next to the menorah during Hanukkah. Funny thing, and I kid you not, she looks eerily similar to Viktor’s real Russian grandma (see photo) who served as one of the few sources of love for him before he came to join our family. So she had been standing guard not only in our china cabinet, but also, in real life, in a rural village near Smolensk, to guard our little son against the neglect he was unfortunately experiencing before and during his orphanage years. A far-fetched coincidence perhaps, though it sure feels real enough to me.
Now, 13 years later, our son is a papa. We are proud of him, since he definitely made it through the rain of childhood and the teen years, leaving us breathless, sad, and angry along the way. I’d like to think that the journey we were on with him helped him to gain sobriety and stability, and a degree of happiness that can be tough for adopted children to achieve under even the best of circumstances. He now kisses his daughter’s head knowing that she is his blood on this side of the ocean. She who looks so much like him rests gently on his chest, quieted by his loving energy in a way I’m sure he longed for – though he may not have recognized that he needed – when he was her age. He’s not setting out to re-create his own sad pre-adoption youth. No, Piper Marie only gets the best from him.
So Tom and I set out 27 years ago to love and respect each other. Fourteen years into our relationship, we added our son to our family, and we have loved and cared for him, and have taught him what we felt he needed to know to become a good person, man, and father. Our tips still continue of course, and he actually seeks out our advice more frequently now (who would’ve thought that would ever happen!), but he now has his own little family and home.
So yes, the creation of a family is a miracle however it’s put together. Our little granddaughter carries my last name, a name of Russian origin that bears the pride of a family who made it out of Europe before the winds of World War II descended. She carries the blood of Viktor’s birth parents, one of whom is deceased, and one (his birth mother) whose whereabouts are unknown. Yes, Piper carries a lot on her petite shoulders, but she does so with the love of her mother and father – our son – who’s been raised with unconditional love from his dads. Here’s to grandpahood. We couldn’t be happier!