A welcome to new life, the Hopi way...
He held her up, smiled into her bright eyes and said, "You came to us!"
And thus my ex-husband and my newborn granddaughter's "qua'a," (grandfather in Hopi) celebrated her arrival into a huuuuuge Hopi family that had been eagerly awaiting her birth since the day they found out she was on her way.
He leaned in to murmur to her in Hopi four times, too--a welcome that was not meant for anyone but the wee one. She may not have understood the words, but I am certain that she felt the love.
Centuries of it, born of hardships most of us cannot even imagine. Hardships her Hopi ancestors survived--just barely--and which make every single new life so incredibly precious to them to this day.
If we are able, she will have a naming ceremony that include being presented, Lion King style, to the Sun, and given a Hopi name of deep significance to her family and clan.
I will never forget watching my daughter being carried out to greet the Sun by her grandmother over 30 years ago. I hope my daughter gets to have the same experience. It is life changing. But I am not Hopi, so special arrangements would have to be made.
It's the women who do these things up there. The women, in fact, own everything up there. Nothing can be done without them.
They have already welcomed her, though. With an avalanche of gifts and constant contact with her mother and grandpa and I for months.
And now, eight days after her birth, qua'a has spoken to her in the language of the people--given her a blessing from them and claimed her as one of their own.
Here's is one from "So'o," which is grandmother in Hopi:
"Iss askwali, mano, (Thank you, little girl) for coming to us. Nu um pas naawakna (I love you very much)."
There will be more to tell--no pictures or names because her mother and father forbid social media exposure. Almost as the Hopis would. Notoriously wary, they are. And that has allowed them to keep their traditions alive.
So for now...the warm welcome will have to do.
She has come to us.
How blessed we are...