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September 26th, 2016

The Apple

By G. E. Shuman
This is probably a strange way to begin this particular column, and a stranger title to give it, but, hopefully, it will all make sense by the end. Recently our daughter, Cathy, and her youngest child, Ayvah, were out for a walk. Their walk happened to take them under and past an old crab apple tree along the roadside. Ayvah, an 8-year-old who is very famous in our family for her insightful thoughts, saturated, as always, in the natural profundity found only in childhood, asked her mom a question, which was this: “If the tree is the mother of the apple, why doesn’t the apple look like the tree?” (I just love it when one of my grandkids comes up with a brilliant, thoughtful question like that.) I don’t know exactly how her mom answered the question. My answer to Ayvah would be something to do with the suggestion that an apple does look like the tree, but it looks like how the tree used to be. (Cathy, if you read this, suggest that answer to that very brainy child of yours.)

Our family, our home, and our own old family tree, have very recently been blessed by a wonderful addition. Nahla was born, in the timeline in which you could be reading this column, just about two weeks ago. She is, just as all of my grandkids have been, the most beautiful baby in the world. She is so, and takes her place in line and number, as our twelfth grandchild. Her place in the family is just as big and bold and permanent as the places of those grandkids who are already grown or nearly grown. She is, simply, wonderful. I cannot always be believed in statements like that, but her grandmother can. So just ask her.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about. I know I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed, but I do believe I understand the basics of how life is carried on in our world. Still, it seems a bit strange to me that Nahla is not only here now, but has been here, living right under our roof, for many months, already. She has been with us for a while, growing and changing, as she is now, but before we ever saw her beautiful face. And, although we could feel her kicking feet within her mom from time to time, and even hear her heart beat occasionally, we did not actually meet her until just those two weeks ago. But, and thankfully, now we have, and, although I hesitate to even use the ‘a’ word in a column relating to my grandchildren, I will tell you this. I fail to see how the proponents of the abominable act called abortion don’t understand that principle, and I also fail to care how mad they get at me for saying so.

Anyway, Nahla is safely here, and now we can see her, and truly know her. I held her this morning, and she smiled slightly as she and I looked into each other’s eyes. I don’t know what she was thinking, other than perhaps wondering who that big old face belonged to, but I do know she was smiling. I saw that smile, and I know, exactly, the unspeakable blessing she is to me, and to us.

Our new granddaughter is already showing signs that she follows very closely to her mom, in strength, beauty, and determination, and that is saying a lot. Believe me, her mom is a very beautiful and tough act to follow. This apple looks a lot like the tree, and I really believe they share some very deep roots of determination and success. There are two thoughts displayed on the walls of Nahla’s nursery. On one side of the room is a wooden plaque, given to Emily by her sister, Cathy. The words on that plaque explain perfectly how we feel about how Nahla fits in our family. The plaque says: “All of God’s grace, in one tiny face.” Across the room, right above her crib, is the inscription: “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will move mountains.” That, I believe.

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