'Cause when it comes to becoming a grandmother for the first time, Granny Panties are about the best I have to offer. And from what I've read in the past few months, the best thing a grandmother-to-be can do to be of help is to stuff Kleenex up one sleeve, spritz on some I-just-baked-a-batch-of-cookies scent, lace up sensible shoes and grow a lap.
I am going to be a grandmother.
For the very first time.
And I am almost pretty partially positive that I am going to do a lousy job.
I have exactly the same confidence I had when I became a mother for the first time.
I remember it.
Carrying a baby, snuggled in my arms, waddling three steps down the hallway in stitches. Unfunny stitches. No sense of humor stitches. Maybe, I would just lean on the wheelchair. Ok, maybe I should just go along to get along and sit down in it. Just to catch my breath.
Yes, I do need to sit in this wheelchair. Yes, I do need to thumb a lift.
I will need help getting out of here, for the simple reason that...
I AM NOT READY TO GO!
Can't any of you see that?
I don't know what I am doing.
I don't know how I am going to do it.
I don't even know what IT is!
I didn't pass a test.
I don't have a license.
I have read all the manuals. I studied. I practiced.
But this, this baby, these feelings, this responsibility lying in my lap, this was not on the pages. Not even the ones I highlighted and underlined and starred in the margins.
This, this my baby, this our baby, has onesies in the closet, diapers and a pail, a changing table, a folder on my desk stuffed with coupons, and cut-outs, and list after list with checks the pre-mother me made with brand new colored markers.
But, the me-as-a-mother, is not in the folder, is not hiding in the closet, is not prepared, is not ready, has no idea, just a fistful of brand new colored markers and all I want is MY mother. My Mother, who knows EVERYTHING about babies is hundreds of miles away and won't get here in time before I make a ginormous mistake. Before I drop him, or wrap him too tight, or fall asleep when I should be awake.
I am leaking in all the wrong places.
I ate for two. Now there are two of us, but one is a tiny bundle and the other one is dressed in the only thing that fits, a maternity smock with puffy sleeves and a bow at the neck. I look like Lucy Ricardo. I am not a shadow of my former self. There is enough of me left over to clone a twin.
I have a notebook, filled with questions. I wrote them all down, ahead of time, because the book said I might be a bit muddled in the heat of the moment. They also said to be sure my significant other be present for questioning, as I might misinterpret or misunderstand.
My significant other is striding along beside me carrying the car seat he practiced securing into the car, over a three day weekend with the owner's manual tucked into his pocket, repeatedly smiling over and over "I got this". In his other hand, the video camera, and I can see the deep black and blue bruise on his wrist. The wrist I slapped when 26 hours into labor, he lovingly stroked my forehead and whispered, "Honey, you just need to focus."
Someone please tell me. With my personal mechanic, videographer and breathing coach on one side, a smiling and confident nurse on the other and an orderly humming show tunes while pushing me toward the exit, how am I supposed to get my questions, the ones on my color coordinated list, answered in time?
These people, these medical, professional, knowledgeable, sane, rational healers of the arts, are smiling at me. They should be running. Running ahead. Sounding the alarm. Ringing a bell. Child-proofing the doors.
Elvis may have left the building...BUT I NEED MORE TIME.
My heart is pounding so hard inside my leaky chest, that I barely hear the soft mewling sound as a tiny finger wraps around my thumb.
I look down into my baby's eyes.
Trust. This baby trusts me.
Poor foolish baby, I think. Why did you pick me when you could have had one of these smart and informed parental looking people hovering nearby.
The baby nestles closer as I run my finger along his cheek. He turns his head and nuzzles my breast.
I cup this tiny head in the palm of my hand and what happens next, I swear is true. I raise my hand as if to take an oath, but the words that come to mind are the following,
"On my honor...I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and...."
Yes...I recited the Girl Scout Law.
I made a promise.
Took an oath.
What I meant was much more simple.
I will try.
I will try not to drop you or pinch you.
Or make you cry.
I will simply start with I love you and we will figure this out together.
So....about this about-to-be-a-grandmother business.
Being a mother doesn't help at all. Neither do Grannie Panties or sensible shoes. I have nothing up my sleeve, not even a baby wipe.
What I do have is my Mother's Badge of Honor.
So what I plan to do is to sit here patiently and wait until that glorious moment when I hold you in my arms for the first time and then I promise..
We'll just figure it out together.
And I'll try very hard not to drop you.
I am, after all. a Girl Scout, and will do...
The best I can do, I promise.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Last Sunday I found myself at the end of a long and non-moving line at the check out of a major box store. The woman ahead of me looked frazzled. She kept fussing with the packages in her cart and staring hard at the line in front of her. Muttering to herself and clutching the lapels of her coat, she turned her head and caught my gaze. I smiled.
She had had just about enough and my smile was the trigger. She let loose on the management, on the slow abysmal service, rising prices, worthless employees and a general and wide ranging plethora of complaints and cantankerous crankiness.
I let her rant. I put my hand on her arm and simply nodded. I mean, after all, she was older than me, and armed only with a 24 pack of toilet paper and a box of power bars. The inside of her purse bulged with scraps of paper and coupons. As she sorted through it, I thought to myself, we could be here awhile.
On another day, actually only a few short days prior to this one, I might have looked exactly like her. I had had a particularly bad week myself, and minor excursions to the store zapped my strength and my last nerve. I would not have welcomed any conversation. In fact, I am sure that I wore an expression that would have kept escaped criminals at bay.
I did know, however, that the truth of it is, in the middle of that life-really-sucks episode, I would have loved to have someone take me into their arms and say hush now. Hold me really really tight and say nothing at all. An outlet for my electrical charge. A place to lay the frenzy down.
So when she looked at me once again, I put my hand on her arm and just listened. Looked her in the eyes and listened. We could do all of this better, dontcha think, she said. Then another torrent of common sense, and decency and what in the world and why is everything such a mess...as we both reached in her cart and loaded her goods on the conveyor belt.
Empty, I thought. Empty it out. It's okay.
She made her way to the cashier, as she fumbled with her scarf, shaking her head and apologizing for her mess of a self. I watched as she struggled with her purchase, and at the calm of the woman waiting behind the cash register. We are friends. We share the same first name and on quieter days laugh about my affinity for buying reading glasses in packs of ten.
The people behind me in line shoved in closer, reaching for the divider separating our goods from one another, rapidly losing their patience and letting me know with their elbows. Sandwiched between, I felt like an island of quiet. Today was the first good day after a lengthy dry spell. I wasn't about to give that up.
So I merely faced forward and sent along my good wishes telepathically. That I had good wishes in my mind at all was such a gift, I needed to share.
She wrapped her coat around her tightly and pulled at her cart heading toward the door as I moved up...no one was more surprised than I when she stopped and turned back. She laid her hand on my arm, and without making eye contact, said...
Thank you for the interesting conversation.
I smiled to myself.
I heard her.
She heard me.
Yes, that qualifies as a conversation.
The fact that she thanked me for it, made me stand a bit taller. Made my good day even brighter.
Because occasionally, there are those awful days, when being ourselves is almost too much to bear. When even a smile feels like a slap. When we are trying to just hang on for a little bit longer, to sort things out, to even things up and we cannot, cannot ask for help. And we yell or make such a frightening face we are scary on the outside...when what we are truly...is scary on the inside.
Now let's not lose all our marbles here. Just a few loose ones.
Some folks are just plain rude.
And annoying jerks.
But most of us, most of us are doing the best that we can whichever way we can. Let's face it, looking at someone hanging by a thread, makes us want to flee. Once in awhile, however, if you are in a good place, and have a kind heart, a gesture of care, no matter how small, finds its way home.
Thank you says it all.
I am so sure of this simple truth, that I know there is someone out there in the universe in the middle of a long check out line, filled with the goodness of a very good day, waiting for me, with their pocket ready to be picked... and...
I am the one with the toilet paper and the power bars.
I am warming up the keys...loosening up my fingers...gathering my courage...so...stay close...be ready...and watch this space...Chapter One is coming soon...
Thursday, February 7, 2013
The first day of the new calendar year is upon us.
That is, depending on the calendar you choose. There are many. The Chinese, the Lunar and the Solar, to name a few.
For this particular story, the one beginning Friday February 8th, 2013, I will be using a calendar perhaps unfamiliar to you now, but this is no longer the Age Of Seasoned Reason.
This is the eve of the dawn of a new day.
DAWN, neither sun nor moon, an empty stretched canvas, brushstroke ready, pen hovering, the glorious awareness of a new beginning, life yet to be lived, moment by precious moment.
This is the Land between Here and There.
This is the time to underline the "o" in wonder.
To believe in the unbelievable.
In things you cannot see or touch.
This is the Year of the Yeti.
The Yard Yeti
I am a Yard Yeti.
This is my story.
And at any time,
between eyes closed and the coming of sleep,
it can be your story too.
Happy New Year's Eve!
The new website pages launch tomorrow.
The beginning of a new chapter...
Suspend your disbelief...
Between eyes closed and the coming of sleep...
...is where the Yard Yetis live...
...somewhere between Here and There...
...the land where anything and everything can come true...