One of the many joys of having four grandparents, each emanating from a uniquely different center of our world, is this: you get to experience life through the sparkles of a rich diversity.
You get to travel and live in places some consider exotic, but which to you are simply parts of the fabric of your being. You experience life alongside people, who look, sound, feel, and behave in intriguingly different ways. You have no clue in the early years that others find difference suspect or strange or challenging. Each continent – of uncles, of aunts, of a wide array of cousins and neighbors – is indelibly a part of you; you are part of them. You know no other way.
When you are the son of a young, brilliant youth who out of ploy as much as pleasure and pain as much as plan lifts you onto her lap and reads to you in operatic nuances the works of Austen, Joyce, Steinbeck, Lewis, Kipling, Langston, Douglas, and the like, and many of those toddling nights are spent – out of unrevealed necessity – carving and contouring the night sky's dazzling constellations, how would you not but have an expansive, inclusive, encompassing view of life and who would want a life valued any less?
When your dad, a scholar, a creative mind, boyfully grabs your pubescent years and hops you through great halls of literature and galleries of fine art; when his weekends are pleasurably spent debating in highfalutin tones Aristotle and Plato, Martin and Malcolm, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung, Roosevelt and Churchill with like-minded intellectuals, while you watch like a prop-chinned cherubim, as the booze is flowing like milk and honey until that garden senate is flushed to a sleepy slur, such that he who is able to sputter the last word has won the debate, but only for that minute and that minute alone … well!
Is there any wonder you'd enjoy exploring, as much inwardly as outwardly, nooks and crannies, marvels and mountains, forests and brushes, rivers and streams, mind and body, and people of every kind and type and being? Is there any surprise you'd enjoy being a story-teller, a sober writer, a lover of art and science, an athlete, an actor, an engineer, a passionate bright-eyed, bushy-tailed hugger, smiler, encourager, yes, even an angel's apprentice? Perhaps the best is this: a drive, a passion, a desire to highlight the joys of life, with all of its messiness, and to find solutions, and to be able to remind whoever needs to know it: You Are Not Alone!