It's A Girl!
On Thursday, July 8th, at approximately 4:13pm, my newest little relative, Ellie Samara Neil, emerged from her warm cocoon inside my cousin Melissa to begin flying solo through this experience we call life. Welcome to the world, Ellie! Her middle and Hebrew names were chosen in remembrance of my Uncle Steve, who died this past Christmas day after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer; but Ellie will surely feel connected to her grandpa when she finds out that not only was she named after him--she was actually born on his birthday.
But wait, there's more. I was born on my grandpa's half birthday (me: July 28th, him: Jan 28th) and my baby brother Simon was both named after and born on our common grandpa's half birthday (Simon: June 1, my dad's dad Shimon: Dec 1). I could say that it's just a coincidence, but I think life is more meaninful if you find more meaning in it; so I'd rather think of these star crossings as evidence of the cosmic connection between and among generations of lineages. Like a sandwich, we are the top and bottom pieces of bread--one generation coming, the other departing, but both made from the same batch of dough. Grandchildren are the pinnacle of human organism achievement, the first (and sometimes only, for most of us non-Mozart or da Vinci types) physical proof that your existence will last beyond you. And more importantly, that it can do so without you, as grandchildren represent the first replication of your DNA that does not require your own personal genomic template. And then, on the other hand, grandparents give intimations of the common denominator of human existence; realizing that all the 1st cousins have a common grandpa, and the even larger gaggle of 2nd cousins can trace back to a single set of great-grandparents--it is proof that somewhere back in time are some small number of ultimate grandparents, who begot us all. Kind of fun to think of them all sitting around in rocking chairs knitting little booties for their 7 million progeny in the year 2005, isn't it?
Yes, there's something very special about grandparents and grandchildren.