YEARS ago i lived in santa cruz, california and through a friend of a friend got to meet red haired, huge smiling, considerate becky. she was about the same age as my parents, and later in the same year when she met them she loved them just as immediately and warmly as she'd loved me. by the end of that year she liked to refer to me as another daughter, and a full year later when i had my own daughter she took to calling my girl her grand daughter. people would ask becky, "how many grandchildren do you have?" and she'd readily respond, "two! one boy from my daughter Am--, and one from my daughter lily-elaine hawk wakawaka." (she didn't really call me all that, but you get the idea.) when my girl was born we'd drive into the redwoods to becky's house pretty regularly. becky enjoyed having us and in fact enjoyed it so much she had a special deck made at the front of her house to block off a potential death pit on the side of a hill, and to offer what was essentially an extra large play pen for the girl-girl. she had the deck made out of recycled plastic boards, not just for the green-factor, but also because that meant no splinters for little ones. soon after the deck was finished my daughter and i actually moved out of california. it was five years before we got to see becky again but she kept in contact with us that whole time, kept calling my girl her granddaughter, and held on to a handmade stuffed rabbit she'd bought for her honorary granddaughter just before we moved. she held onto it that entire five years until the girl and i were finally able to take a drive to santa cruz, right into those redwoods to becky's house. when we arrived the first thing she did, after greeting us, was point to "Rachel's Deck" telling my girl the story of why it was made, and then hand my girl her five-year old bunny. having becky in my life has been one of the richest relationships i've ever had. we're able to share a fullness in conversation that i always treasure with people but rarely find. we can move from laughing over the most mundane little details to discussing the lived reality of an immense sense of love and gratefulness she feels in the current phase of her life. two different times i've been able to visit becky with a friend in tow. both times she's extended incredible hospitality to them instantly. the first of those two times was with my dear friend shiloh. becky was instantly open hearted towards shiloh, willing to embrace her simply because i presented her as my friend. when shiloh unfortunately fell ill during our visit, becky went out of her way to make sure shiloh had foods, health products, and the rest she'd need to recover comfortably. she still adores my parents and asks after them regularly, even without now having seen them since even longer back than she went without seeing me. she dedicated to what she values in that kind of long term way. having becky in my daughter's life has brought a further depth to her life too. becky is wonderful at simply loving my girl for who she is -- connecting to her with a kind of well-felt joy, silliness of expression, and appreciation of friendship. in becky bringing that to her connection with my daughter, becky has helped teach my daughter how to live in that brilliant combination of care and feeling too. i've been blessed with my own good parents, of course. but i'm grateful too for how i've been blessed to find that magical combination of friend and parent-like figure in my life with others as well. in this combination with becky i've found a sense of being able to experience my own truer self through her willingness to see me in that trueness too. with her i've been able to live in a kind of honesty and integrity that depends upon others being willing to receive and live in such traits too. she has blessed me with her friendship and is so good at expressing to me the gratefulness she feels for our connection. i've learned from her how to be open in such things. i am grateful that i get to be one of the people in becky's life that shares an intimacy with her that means i get to know her so well.