Dear family of mine,
As I prepare to journey back to the East Coast for my stint as a full-time Grammy, I realized there are a few things you should know.
First of all, Rachel: I love you dearly. I loved the idea of you before you were a you. The days since have shown me that the love of a mother before her child is born is nothing compared to the loving that swells every day after. You will learn this soon enough.
Secondly, Dan: That you love our Rachel so well makes you A-Okay in my book. But, thankfully it doesn’t stop there. I’m lucky to have your stand-alone friendship and I can’t imagine life without your silly puns and fantastical moustache. You’re a damn good guy. Period.
Third: I cannot wait for the day you two make me a Grammy! However, I haven’t spent a second wishing or wanting for this baby to be any one person. For some very specific reasons. To start with, every new person deserves to become who they are uncorrupted by anyone else’s expectations. I certainly can’t ignore that fact. Even more, though, I am so excited to see who this person is and how its parents’ features (both physical and personality) mix together to create it. Will it have curly hair? A Kunzle chin? Looooong fingers?? Will it be stubborn? A book worm? A wild child? Guh!! I can barely contain my excitement!
But there are a few things we need to get straight before that day comes. Just in case you haven’t already figured it out…
I plan to be an Utterly Impractical Grammy.
Now, if you find yourself thinking, Whaa…? You should be ashamed of yourself. You obviously think I might be a totally different person when I become the third generation in our family. Your kneejerk reaction should be: Well, of course you are (with an accompanying eye roll). Just in case, I thought I’d announce my intentions before anyone goes having any absurd expectations.
So, without further adieu, here are a few things you should expect as your baby grows into whoever s/he will be:
1. Things are gonna get a little bit loud. Impractical Grammy doesn’t care if we scream or sing or talk too loud. We’re just exercising our lungs. We’re probably clanking pots and pans, too. There will likely be quiet times, too, but they will be momentary at best.
2. Messes will definitely be made. If I’m honest, I will admit that messes will probably be the norm. Paint, playdough, ooblik? All nontoxic, but messy and more fun than we could ever have otherwise.
3. That’s gonna leave a mark. Clothes will be ruined: by paint, mud, some sciencey something or other I ordered on the internet. So, do not send your child(ren) to this Grammy’s house in their Sunday best. You’re only going to end up mad about it. And then I will have to remind you that we already discussed this very situation…
4. Homework will go undone. I will likely forget there’s homework to be done in the first place. However, even on the odd day I can rely on my memory, there’s probably going to be a book to read or trail that needs walking much more than the damn homework needs doing.
5. Crazy ideas will be discussed… as though they are the most reasonable ideas in the world. Imaginations will be honed, sharpened, ripened (pick your favorite) at Grammy’s house and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. BE PREPARED!
6. Arguments will be had. But they will be made up again, too. Life isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes a kid has to wholeheartedly (toss in loudly here, too) disagree with the people s/he loves most in the world. Loud and boisterous arguments will always be welcome at this Grammy’s place. Meanness, however, will not be tolerated.
In other words, don’t expect me to suddenly become this alien, other person just because you’ve gone and had a baby… 🙂
P.S. This list is a decent start on things, I think. However, I reserve the right to revisit and revise it at any time in the future. I probably forgot something that needs specific attention. But don’t worry. I will love that little-little more than any other Grammy could love it. That will always be my priority more than sending her/him back home to you with clean clothes and without a scratch.
Love, Mama (AKA Becky-in-law and Grammy-to-be)
Today is the day we set aside to celebrate mothers. Let me tell you, we certainly are a group that deserves celebration. We form and grow the bodies our children inhabit for a lifetime. Which is just the beginning of it. True? Mothers are the driving force behind how we create who we become as human beings, citizens, heartful people into the rest of our lives. Mothers are not all powerful, but we’re as close to it as anyone can get.
To say that I am grateful to my mom says nothing of what she means to me. Without her, I am not. It’s a biological fact, sure, but it is also an emotional and mental fact, too. She rocked me until my tears stopped falling as a tiny baby, then again as a scrawny little girl, a self-conscious teen, and even now as a full-grown adult person. Then there’s the fact that I am stubbornly me because of my mom. Good, bad, or otherwise I wouldn’t have me any other way. I may not like myself every moment of every day, but I will never apologize for who I am; that would hint at a flaw of my mother’s. She’s never flawed, in my eyes, because my mom is as perfect a mother as I will ever need.
But this is the part where things get complicated. I love my mother dearly, but if she were the only role model I’d ever had as a woman, I wouldn’t be near to who I am. My other mother (some might call her a step) has taught me ways to be that I’d never learn from the woman I call Mom. The way I like to think of it is, if my mother forms the fabric of me, my other mother is the glittery thread shot through it. She adds a special dimension that I’d be a lesser person without.
What’s especially special this Mother’s Day is that my daughter will soon become a mother, too. <3 So along with celebrating my mothers, and my Rachel for making me one, I will soon get to celebrate her as a mother in her own right.
If I have one piece of advice for you, Rachel, it’s this: Don’t try to be “THE perfect mother.” Don’t worry about all those silly, little things parenting books and mother’s groups and friends, family, and even strangers tell you will cause irreparable harm. Most of the time it’s just a load of crap. Love that baby as hard as you can. Nothing, absolutely nothing in this world, is as important as that.
I figured, since I am a writer now, maybe I should write you a love story. You certainly deserve to have a story written about you, my Steve, after all that you’ve given me. But here’s the thing… because there’s always a thing, isn’t there? I don’t know how to write a love story that’s half as interesting as ours. Nor do I have it in me to write a character who is quite as much of a character as you. You’re a one of a kind. Our love is that way, too.
On the other hand, if I could write my character to be one that you’d deserve in this great fictional love story, she’d be a little bit like me, but a lot not. That idea is rather nice, come to think of it, to be able to fix a few of my non-fictional flaws. So, here goes:
Fictional me would tell you more often how much she appreciates you cleaning up the kitchen in the early mornings when she’s still sleeping. Like me, she doesn’t care to clean the kitchen. She also would never complain if the dishes weren’t quite as clean as she’d like them. Fictional me yells a lot less than real me does.
Fictional me would also try more often to wake up earlier and enjoy that first cup of coffee with you. Early mornings are special to you and fictional me would be better about getting out of bed just early enough so that she wouldn’t be annoying. Fictional me would be a better fake morning person than I am.
Fictional Becky would be less critical, more encouraging, and laugh more often at your jokes. She would also be able to eat like a horse and still be thin and sexy 24/7/365. She would be more daring on hikes, more daring in the passenger seat, and even in the sack. Oh, and my fictional me would be less argumentative, less opinionated, and less complicated in the emotional department because dammit sometimes it’s just not necessary.
Alas, I am non-fictional Becky. I can’t be my perfect, or your perfect, or anybody’s perfect version of who I should be. I can just BE and hope that today’s me is good enough and maybe tomorrow’s will be a little better. But here’s the other thing… because they work in pairs, ya know! I will spend today and every day loving you as good and as hard and as best as I can. You are my very real Steve and our love is very, very real. And we both deserve nothing less than our very best try.
I love you, Steve. Happy Valentines Day!
I’m having a difficult time describing how and why I am a protector. Maybe it’s because the trait is too ingrained to be able to tease it out to analyze. But to put it plainly, I protect the people I love. Not because they can’t do it for themselves, not because I have to fill a weakness of theirs, and not because without me they would be lost. I know my limitations. I don’t hold myself up as some all-powerful guardian of good and right. But in my mind, you protect those you love from harm. Period. I suppose I could say I believe it’s part of my “job” as a loving human being.
In the end, maybe I’m having a hard time with this one because it’s just that simple. Isn’t that the truth? Some of the simplest concepts are the hardest to put into words.
I know everybody’s getting ready for BBQ and fireworks on this 4th of July, but before you go and start celebrating too heartily, please take a moment to think.
My wish for this Independence Day is that today will start an era when we all can/will freely voice the ideas we believe in. But hold on just a sec… This is different from what is happening all over the country right now. It’s become popular, because it’s so easy to do, to bash the opposition. It feels like an opinion when we say, NOPE you’re wrong, but it’s really not. The problem is, pointing out what you don’t believe is mindless. It depends on someone else spending their thoughts and effort and time to form an opinion. It takes heart to be FOR something. It takes nothing to be against it.
Here’s what we’ve been missing, if I might be so bold (and let’s be real, we all know I am…) Maybe we don’t agree with someone else’s ideas or beliefs, but we can at least respect each other for the effort they put into being thoughtful citizens. We can understand that others feel just as strongly about their beliefs as we do our own. We can relate as people who all just want a safe place to live and good food to share with the people we love, right?
So take some time today to not only celebrate our independence from tyranny, but also to celebrate your own independence from forced ideologies. Celebrate independent thought. That there is about as patriotic as you can get!