There’s a baby in the kitchen

It wasn’t that unusual over the years to walk into our kitchen in the morning and find someone we didn’t recognize.

baby in the kitchen2We were lucky that our kids felt free to invite their friends for extended stays. And in Florida, the sphere of visitors expanded as Carol’s brother, Jim, and his wife, Karen, brought friends to help them sail the boat they kept at the end of our dock.

Still, I can’t remember walking into our kitchen and finding a baby we weren’t expecting!

That’s happened a couple of times at the Friends House, most recently this weekend with the appearance in the kitchen of 13-month-old Alice and her parents Brittany and Andrew.

As the grandfather of a six month old, I’m especially interested in getting to know people who’ve recently made their way through the ages that Leila is headed into next. Like a movie trailer of Leila’s coming attractions, Alice bit into a peach, stood up on her own and — what really got my attention — used sign language to let her parents know she’d wanted more of that peach.

How did I miss the whole baby sign language thing? And it turns out that Leila is just the right age for Baby Sign Language 101. Assuming Kate and Marton are on board with this, maybe we’ll get started this afternoon. What’s one more language for a baby already destined for fluency in Hungarian, Spanish and English?

Alice, Brittany and Andrew are visiting a fellow Housie, staying in one of two guestrooms we hope you’ll make use of, too.

Among the delights and occasional challenges of living in a community of 21 people is its unpredictability. You never know whom you’ll encounter at what hour in the library, the parlor, the kitchen or any of the other public areas of the house.

One of our favorite professors in college, John Dunne, was fond of saying, “Whatever should enter into your life will enter into it.” At first blush, that sounds a little fatalistic, almost predeterminist. In fact, there’s a simpler logic to it that leaves me thinking that, if life makes any sense at all, it makes sense as a result of what’s entered into it. For better and worse.

At least so far, the unexpected guests we’ve encountered at BHFH are tipping the scales heavily in the direction of better.

Who — or what — has shown up unannounced in your life?

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