My grandmother died April 30, 2004.
The way she welcomed me, into her home, from childhood, through my adult years, continues to influence my life.
She stopped whatever she was doing, called out my name, threw her arms wide to swallow me up in a tight hug, and sweet kiss. (As if she had been waiting all her life to see me.)
She did this for all of her grand kids, and each one felt like the most important person in the world.
My Dad and I were talking about this, recently, and he said, “It didn’t matter if she hadn’t seen you for twenty-four hours or twenty-four days. Her welcome was always the same, affectionate and joyful.”
It’s a practice I’ve retained, when I see my nieces and nephews. There is nothing more important, for a child, than being welcomed into the home (AND heart!) of someone who practices LOVE, unconditionally and exaggeratedly.
When I close my eyes and remember the sounds and sensations of her warm, festive embrace, my heart still expands and I smile.
An open-armed, open-hearted, welcome is a simple, potentially life-changing, experience. Offer one, and receive one, whenever you can.