Sunday, August 26, 2007

On becoming a grandmother


I was struck with the urgency to call Winston and tell him that our son and daughter-in-law were about to become parents - that every day! We must rush to the hospital!

On the way there we mused about how amazing it was that all the revolutions in our lives together had culminated in this astounding event. WE were about to become grandparents!
I don't know if others feel old when they become someone's grandparent, but I felt foolishly young! I felt amazed (just as I do, alas, when I take a good long look in the mirror these days). It seems I had so recently ceased in the active rearing of my own children, with barely a breather in between - and here I was a member of the Granny club! Wow!

Naturally my thoughts turned to my own grandparents, the only set I ever knew - my mother's parents. Nanny, that beloved old lady, walked with a wobble, wore calico dresses with an apron that went over her head, and wrung the necks of chickens while I watched in stunned but fascinated silence behind the chicken wire fence in their yard. She wore her very very long still dark hair plaited in twin buns which were secured on either side of her head with pins she kept in a saucer on her dresser beside the statuary of saints holding rosaries. Her hands trembled when she served Papa coffee in a cup on a saucer, so that the tinkling noise signaled that it might be time to sit down and eat something, too. Rice pudding, hopefully...with plump raisens and again the sounds I recall forever...that squiiiiiiish as the spoon sank into the fragrant warm concoction. She had a very soft lap and little growths on her eyelids I asked her about all the time (shameful and merciless, the curiosities of children). She was slow and plump and sweet beyond measure....could I ever be a grandmother as wonderful as mine?

Missy sat in the hospital bed with her hair sleek and brushed and glossy as if she just might be getting ready to go someplace nice. I suppose she was about to go someplace nice...into the land of Motherhood, from whence no traveler ever returns.

I stood anxiously and awkwardly as her own mother touched her face, made soothing noises, and Missy began to feel the pain like no other. She finally expressed a tear and yet never ever made complaint or became beligerant like some women on the Baby Story do, but welcomed her firstborn son into the world with grace as my own firstborn son watched in that age-old paternal dismay.....

Done! I was a grandmother! Me?

There lay a creamy-skinned little boy, blinking at the lights, mewling softly, his arms flung up beside his head as if to say, I give up Mr. Robber! Take my money!

Such irresistible submission, neediness and beauty!

Happy fourth birthday, Shepherd! We love you!

Mimi and Granddaddy