Taylor Knilans, made of moonbeams, stardust, and love

Taylor Knilans, made of moonbeams, stardust, and love

Well, here she is: Taylor Ava Knilans! I’ve had many babies pass through my hands in my life, but this is the first human one, fancy that! Riding on the tail of a “full moon with lunar eclipse,” precious Taylor came to Earth at a remarkable astrological time. Here is a brief synopsis of the lunar event from realastrologers.com:

“If there ever was a time for identifying and clearing out emotional baggage, this lunar eclipse is it. Shine a light into all the hidden corners of your psyche and haul out the garbage to throw away. If you have a favorite cleansing ritual, use it extensively. We are halfway through the period between the first New Moon in Cancer and the second one, a solar eclipse, on July 21-22. Saturn is in a great position now to help with this project, too. Please remember to be kind to yourself and especially to your nearest and dearest, as those are the folks we most often take out our angst on. These are tough times for many people, and it is by paying kindness ahead that we can all benefit.”

Good Job!

Good Job!

Such a message! My stepson Johnny and daughter-in-law Candace are at that indescribable moment in their young lives when everything that happened post-Taylor is truly a past-life. I can only imagine what personal history looks like from the eyes of a fresh, new parent. All that you have ever done or left undone is now framed through the lens of “mother,” “father.”

These words, in the living world, herald utter transformation from what was before. Parenthood—a biological, hormonal, perceptual shift—happens in an instant and changes things, all things, forever. New parenthood is looking at your life out of a window in your house you didn’t know existed: the view is entirely different, entirely unknown. The exhilaration! The exhaustion! The dreams and hopes! The responsibilities! And—most of all—the possibilities!

For I marvel that Taylor is not the only brand spankin’ new being in the Knilans’ household. The union of Candace and Johnny, of Candace and and her daughter, of Johnny and his baby girl, of Carter and I as grandparents—all are new, fresh, and limitless creations all unto themselves, gifted by the coming of this tiny star-baby, coasting down to Earth on the tail of an eclipse.

Grandpa Carter says, "Hello you!"

Grandpa Carter says, "Hello you!"

In one Indian tradition, this particular moon is called the Thunder Moon. How true! The Earth and skies drum-roll the arrival of this new and precious life!

Last night, I sat beside Candace, holding Taylor in my arms. She is a beautiful, beautiful infant, dark headed, with eyes as large and bottomless as the full moon that ushered her here. I have no adequate words for her hands. They are not like any baby’s hands I’ve ever seen. No, they are the hands of a Goddess: long fingered, porcelain, defined. When she reaches out, it is not only to touch, but to bless, to anoint all of us mere humans. Because surely, she is too perfect to be a mere human. These are the words of every grandparent, aren’t they?

Every baby I’ve ever held has not been one of my own. I am no blood relative to Taylor. So I stand just slightly outside of that mystery of shared blood that binds a birth family. And so it has always been for me and always will be. But here, at the fringes, I look in with amazed eyes and a full heart, and I catch my breath in wonder when those tiny goddess fingers curl around my own. I have been blessed.

And blessed not only by this “blessed event,” but blessed to have such a family. I am one of the lucky stepmothers—I adore Johnny and Candace. They were high-school sweethearts, marrying when Johnny joined the Navy. At their age, I would not have trusted myself with anything but a Barbie Doll, yet these two have taken on marriage and parenthood—a steep learning curve, steep beyond my comprehension. I got to make most of my most god-awful mistakes long before I ever met Carter. Married young, all of Candace’s and Johnny’s life-walk, their failures and successes, will be borne together, making the joys that much richer, and the failures a double agony. I stand in awe of these beautiful children of mine. Of course, they are smart, and of course they are talented (don’t all mothers say this about their children?), but what touches me most about them both is their deep goodness, their strong affection for each other, and their  sensitivity.

Sensitivity is a both a blessing and a curse. It is what makes the private and very manly-man Johnny automatically reach out to help his dad carry in the groceries, hide the Snickers Bars (Carter is diabetic), and hug me hello, goodbye, and goodnight. It makes Candace determined enough to follow her new military husband around the country, gentle enough to be patient with well-meaning, over-enthusiastic new grandparents (Taylor came home only hours before we arrived), and brave enough to be a mother before she is even a legal adult. Yet sensitivity, while it makes the joys richer, makes the hurts near unbearable. In my view, the world needs all the sensitive people (especially men!) it can get these days.

Johnny and Candace, may your union grow richer through the addition of this new, magical ingredient. May you grow even stronger together as Taylor grows strong in your loving care. May your child bring you a renewed sense of innocence and joy. May you know peace through the profound love and power of family. May you know wisdom through a sacrifice that makes you stand taller, breathe deeper, and live with greater passion and dignity.

Taylor comes with a message for all of us: Throw out the trash! Make room for a new dream! Life is coming—again, and again, and again!

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  1. Cindy says:

    Grandma Susan…

    The parents are beautiful! Grandpa Carter is precious holding his baby granddaughter! And you, Sage Woman, are blessed beyond imagining!

    Now, for the baby……

    She is a Goddess, born with silver stardust shining in her hair, moonbeams to illuminate her eyes, and the beautiful moon, Celene, as her guardian.

    Blessings abound, this we know……and now we see.

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Yes, yes, her parents could give Brad and Angelina a run for their money in the gorgeous couple department!

  2. SaLLy says:

    She really is exquisite! How exciting this must be for all of you! Most heartfelt congratulations to your family and to your newest family member. May she have a blessed and wonderful life! Happy to have you here, Taylor!

  3. B says:

    I said my best wishes in the last post, but I can’t help but say it again! Congratulations! The photos are adorable, beautiful, and shows how happy everyone is to welcome Taylor into this world! I’m thrilled for you and your family Susan! It’s a happy, happy day! Thanks for sharing the photos with us!

  4. Oh, Susan, Taylor is a beauty! Congratulations to you and your family!

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Thanks to all for your kind, joyful words! I had no expectations of anything when headed for Virginia, having never even contemplated being a grandma before, and I find myself awash in awe and an all-consuming sense of the sacred. Much to ponder, and to simply “feel.”

  5. Deb says:

    Congrats on the new baby….What a Doll!!

  6. carter says:

    There is a place in Mystery whence the unknown becomes known. I call that place the Myst. Our hopes and our dreams and our desires and our needs go into the Myst and sending them there mixes it. Then the Chef takes over. We never know what we’re gonna get ’till the mixin’s done, the work is finished, and the meal is on the table.

    What a feast we have before us. My compliments and my deepest gratitude to the Chef.

  7. kathey says:

    Congratulations, Susan, to you and your family for the birth of little Taylor Ava. You will love every day of your new adventure, especially as you watch Johnnie’s and Candace’s love for each other grow with the addition of their child to their nest. This event is so exciting…and your photos are wonderful and greatly appreciated. Take care and feel it all, especially your happiness, to the max!!

  8. Kerry says:

    Congratulations Susan on becoming a grandmother. What an adorable little peanut she is. 🙂

  9. Congratulations from a fellow witer and “animal whisperer” (as well as a fellow Cancerian) – what a month to be born onto, surely Taylor Ava is a teacher and a guide to us all, as her soul chose this particular cleansing healing time to emerge into a physical body.
    Thank you for the wonderful work you do for the animals and humans!
    Shiri Joshua
    Vancouver, BC

    Centre for Human & Animal Healing, Where people heal animals, and animals heal people!

  10. Janet Colson says:

    Dear Susan

    I have been longing to get back to your blog but the busy-ness of life has overwhelmed us lately as we are in the last few months now before our big move from London to New Zealand. How thrilled I was then to read about the birth of Taylor Ava! She has taken your breath away as only a beautiful newborn can! Congratulations to Candace and Johnny and to the happy grandparents. Wonderful news.

    In July, my dear healer friend Kelvin asked me to write a poem. It’s about birth, collective memory, nature, our journey through the universe. When I read your story I wanted to send it.


    I trace a line

    from the base of my toe

    to the flat of my heel

    remembering how it was

    when we were born.

    I am a child,

    before the pyramids, I was.

    I rode with dolphins

    and, by night, I heard the humpback

    call my name.

    One day I woke

    to the cackle of terns,

    and longed for air;

    they buoyed me up, but I looked down,

    and tumbling,

    came to rest upon the earth.

    My path lit up,

    a fire burned;

    it spurred me on

    it might have been a thousand miles

    or more.

    I walked with princes,

    dined with kings,

    lapis, quartz and amber

    paved my way;

    and I forgot the ocean.

    But now when sea birds circle

    high above my head,

    I trace a line,

    remembering how it was

    when we were born.

    J.Catherine Colson, August 2009

  11. Janet Colson says:

    Come visit any time – we’d be thrilled…..

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