I’m relishing the role I’ve been playing this week – the one where I get to be a grandmother. I’ve been enjoying the role of Mayor’s Wife a lot, too, but nothing trumps being a grandmother.
My daughter Anne and her two children are visiting from New York. Daddy Chris will join them for the weekend and I will have had them for about 10 days.
As I type, “BaBa” (a.k.a., Grandpa) is trying to soothe a crying three-month-old (without success) while teaching big sister Jeanne to play “Go Fish.”
Having been the mother of three (all colicky babies) I am impressed with Anne’s laissez-faire attitude towards a baby that cries all the time.
She has encountered it with both and casually says, “At least I know she can be comforted eventually.”
Jeanne stopped crying at three months. Mary Malcolm is one day shy of three months but so far tomorrow’s not looking very promising.
While Mary Mac is a challenge to calm down, Jeanne is easy to entertain and we have fun discovering new things together.
Yesterday we “explored” (her word) the back yard with “men-oculars” (facing the wrong way). We found acorns for squirrels to hide in nests (“I thought only birds had nests, GaGa”), tiny yellow flowers (in clover) and her favorite, roly poly bugs under flower pots. We wanted to throw stones into the (very shallow) river but clumps of poison ivy on the banks prevented that.
When Jeanne was first born, Anne decided my grandmother name should be “Queenie.” I thought “Jeanne” would be a good starting point but Queenie was close enough. When she started to talk I told Anne, “She says something very distinctive when I say “Queenie.” It turned out to be “GaGa” so I’ve been that ever since. Tommy became “BaBa” and he’s been that ever since too.
I know grandmothers who are “Mimis,” some who are “Honeys,” and yet others who are “Nanas.” My friend Sheila Delaney is the original “GaGa.” Her oldest grandchild gave her that name years ago and he is now in his last years at the University of Tennessee.
Jeanne is old enough to “tease” so sometimes she calls me “Gogs” and Tommy “Bobs.” In return I call her “Jeans.”
We read together, have tea together, do moves that she learns in ballet class together (“plié, plié, everybody plié”) and sometimes watch Disney TV (mostly when Mom’s not looking).
She’s a very good eater and I try to adhere strictly to Mom’s dietary rules though I have been known to slip in a sweet snack or two from time to time. Her favorite food is broccoli although watermelon comes in a close second. She had her first-ever ice cream sandwich after nap time yesterday though she often gets a rainbow smoothie when home from a vendor nearby.
Jeanne definitely understands the difference between her life in New York and that of GaGa here. On the way home from the airport she points out the “jungle” (roadside) and knows that to see green fields in New York she has to go on sidewalks to parks.
When I suggested to her that we watch the Disney movie “Dumbo” she said she’d “been to DUMBO before and to Brooklyn, too" (DUMBO is an acronym for an area “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”). In fact, she has.
When I visit her there I sometimes walk her the 10 blocks to school and/or back. The other day she asked Anne if GaGa could “walk her back to Murfreesboro.”
Later today we might try to find an alternate path to the river so we can pitch those stones and she’s mentioned twice that she’d like to see the sunset.
GaGa’s up for it all.
When I think about why I enjoy my grandchildren so much I know the main reason (as all you veterans out there know too). It’s because they make me slow down.
Slowing down is something that’s very difficult to do when you’re a mom. But when you’re a grandmother you feel like you really do have all the time in the world.
‘Til next week.