A Gift in Paros-dise

What a dream this is! My niece is in Florida with her very newborn baby, and I am on the beautiful Greek island of Paros. A Greek lady is singing a beautiful love song to me in her native tongue as I lay on the beach tanning and napping. No, she hasn’t been hired to sing to me, but if I had hired someone the song would never be so sweet.

Although she doesn’t know it, she is singing me a song of love and longing and beauty, and I feel it in my soul, so much that I am brought to tears. I think of my beautiful niece in Florida who is holding a baby that has meant the world to her for many, many years even though she has just given birth to him.

I think of my sister, her happiness and joy at his arrival and her relief her daughter is safe and healthy and content. The song sounds like this to me even though it may not translate that way to English. How can we communicate this so well? How am I so lucky to be serenaded so?

Well, it’s a long story that starts with a decision to go to Switzerland, where my friend Liz and I were able to meet Dimitra’s daughter Sophia, who lives in Zurich but urged Liz to come meet her Greek family in Athens.

The short story is Eleni is a friend of Dimitra’s, who is Liz’s cousin. Eleni doesn’t speak much English, and I don’t speak much Greek, but we communicate well through our love for swimming.

She swims and I swim, and on this day we swim to a tiny beachside church from a beachfront cafe we have settled into. The church is far away, but she is a strong swimmer. She tells me that she swam from Paros to Antiparos, two Greek islands which like sirens, beckon you and charm you unexpectedly. I’m not as strong a swimmer, but those that know me know I have a mermaid soul.

We swim to the tiny church called St. George’s which sits on the coast with its white stucco walls and tiny blue windows against the stark rocky coast of Paros. We talk back and forth along the way in the way with signs and words and expressions. I know what she is saying even though we don’t speak much…you must come this way, you must push yourself, you must keep trying, you must experience this beauty so you can understand.

We cannot get out on the coast by the church, she says without saying, because it is too rocky and there are sea urchins which she points to and I understand.

The tiny church of St. Georges peeks through the windblown trees on the tiny island of Paros.

It’s like being deaf and mute but with the blessing of extraordinary vision. I don’t need to go into the church to feel it’s spirit. I say a silent prayer of thanks for my new great nephew’s health and we begin the long swim back. I see Liz and her cousin far away in the turquoise waters, and we are glad they are still swimming in our direction and haven’t turned back. Liz has more determination than any friend I’ve ever had and she will reach us. Her cousin Dimitra is proof it is an ancestral trait.

Upon our arrival back at the beach, Eleni and I rest on our beach chairs when I hear her singing. I am moved to tears, but I am on the chair behind her so she cannot see me. Dimitra had told me Eleni’s husband is a famous Greek singer, but nothing has prepared me for her beautiful voice.

And in the sun and with the fatigue of swimming, my emotions are all over the place, and I am drawn back to my niece knowing she is holding her brand new baby who she loves more than life itself. In my mind, I am watching my sister looking at her grandson, and I feel her contentment and relief of knowing her daughter has made it through this milestone, older and wiser but appreciative of this gift of beautiful life she has been blessed with.

As am I.

This ladybug visited me the day my great nephew was born while I was on the island of Paros. My niece has always loved ladybugs.

On a very lofty, ethereal level, Ladybugs are generally associated with good fortune and good luck. They bring with them a sense of future prosperity. Their bright and colorful look, along with their happy-go-lucky travels, means living life without boundaries. —– Ladybug Planet website

(dedicated to Andrea, Wanda, Eleni and baby Elliot)


This is Eleni’s husband Pantelis Thalassinos, he is a famous Greek singer. His songs are incredible as you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMonkjavkkU&list=RDEM2EYtYioQhdRAw-MlSkRTIA

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