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When I learned my first granddaughter decided to visit us for several days,I felt a bit uncertain about the wisdom of her decision.  Really?? Won’t she be bored?   Does she just need some CA sunshine? Will we be able to keep her interested?

Lyrics to Sunrise, Sunset.

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Little did I know my Father was probably watching in the wings, singing the chorus of sunrise sunset from Fiddler on the Roof, one of his favorite songs and therefore one of mine too.  I could picture it easily.

Is this the little girl I carried?  Before me now was a beautiful young woman.  She could easily carry me if the situation required it, I believe.  She was like a breath of fresh ocean air coming into our home.  Ah, Youth!

I don’t remember growing older, when did they?  She rises at 6:30 AM to go for a walk.  uphill, of course.  I’m doing well if I’m out from under the covers at 8:30. She’s the epitome of a physically fit woman.  I’m fighting gravity every moment.  I marvel at her.  It’s a ridiculous comparison, but there it is.  I embrace it.  I embrace her too, knowing full well how fleeting is the time.  It’s to be treasured.

She seems genuinely interested in us as I am genuinely interested in her and her opinions. She’s articulate, focused and thoughtful.  Ah, she’s been well educated!  So together.  Such energy!

She easily takes her place in our kitchen at dinnertime, adding her own healthy twist to the veggie part of the meal.  She does so adeptly and enthusiastically. I decided then and there she should live with us. (kidding of course).

I am so grateful to have had this time together.  Now I sound like Carol Burnett.  Her visit:  What a beautiful gift. The most wonderful part is that I think it meant a lot to her as well!  Our pleasure in each other was shared.  and very special.

I have met a few women in my life who decide they do not want to have children.  I can truthfully tell them that seeing your grandchild mature into adulthood  and ready to carry their weight in life, is indeed a great joy, not easily discarded or overlooked.  Certainly not easily duplicated!

It’s a gift to watch life come full cycle and helps make the sunset easier to watch.

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Steve says:

    Nice picture of uncle Nathan

  • Ann Starck says:

    This may ne my favorite blog of yours.

  • April says:

    Bravo! xxo A.

  • Eleanor Moriarty says:

    Dianne that was beautiful. Sunrise Sunset is one of my favorite as well. Fiddler still rates up there as one of my joys

  • Elaine Nakashima says:

    Dianne, Being among your friends who decided to not have children (and even my “stepson” will likely not have any either), it is a joy to experience the full circle you speak of through your eyes and spirit. Thank you for writing this. So touching! I never stopped to feel into those lyrics until now.

    • Dianne Vapnek says:

      Elaine, I completely respect your decision. I’m glad it resonated. Families are such complex entities as are the feelings they arouse!

  • Nancy Felson says:

    Love this, Dianne! Sharing it with some of my grandkids.