She was a little ball of bonneted beauty when I first met her. She was being dandled by her equally gorgeous mother in the shallow end of the swimming pool at the East Bank Club. EBC was designed for Yuppies (Young Urban Professionals to those of you too young to remember) in the boom of the late 1970's. Those Yuppies were interested in the track and the pool and the weights and the aerobic equipment and the racquetball courts and not at all in the nursing mothers. There was controversy - is a nursing breast more of a distraction than a thong bikini? - and there were rule changes and there were meetings. When the management realized that those Yuppies would meet, marry and procreate while maintaining their memberships the space became more child-friendly. When The Bride and Big Cuter were infants... well, not so much.
Seret and I bonded in the lounge of the dressing room, feeding our beautiful babies and marveling at the whole experience. We were young women far from our own mothers; we created a new, extended family of our own. We planned prom dates for our little ones and dreamed of bright futures.
I never thought about those babies bringing their own babies into the world. Their presence in the world was a miracle enough for me. I thought of the future in terms of toddling and toilet training and teething, at first. As time went on, teachers and training wheels and time management skills occupied my brain. I never saw those babies as parents themselves.
And now, she is a parent herself. She carried a baby through Alabama snowstorms, while teaching English to reluctant teenagers, to weddings and to showers. She walked down the aisle as a pregnant bridesmaid, glowing with radiance, careful not to outshine the beautiful bride. She coached softball and hit infield practice the day before LJ announced that he was ready to enter the world. Life went on and she was a part of it, never letting her girth get in the way of the adventure.
Can you tell I think she's wonderful?
Her mom is there, helping and sharing the love, just as I will be for Little Cuter this summer. I hope that notes are being taken, that this worked and this made her nutty will be remembered and passed along so that I can, once again, learn from their experience. The Bride was my role model for Little Cuter, her mother's wisdom coaching me through the inevitable travails of parenting without family around to soften the burden. We laughed and cried and hugged all through their childhoods, the ups and downs of normal life made easier because we had each other.
And now, she has to find her own faux family, since Seret will be leaving, eventually... though no one will want her to go. Still, they have to forge their own path, even if they are half a continent away from the world's most loving new grandmother. Sniffles and worse, torn jeans and worse, hurt feelings and worse...... those are down the road. Right now, bottles and boobs and tiny fingernails are overwhelming enough, I imagine. Remembering how incompetent TBG and I felt that first night home, alone with an infant, jumping up at every rustle from the cradle at the end of our bed, I have to smile as I realize that the little girl whose diaper I changed is now changing the diaper of her own little one.
Is it too banal to go to the circle of life continues? Her son was born and her grandmother died and April covered both experiences. I have visions of G'ma meeting the new arrival in Heaven, the two of them planning a wedding for LJ and FlapJilly, laughing at their audacity but secretly holding the wish that it might happen. Great-grandmothers are allowed that fantasy.
For now, with her baby blankets and beanies and bottles and brushes, The Bride picks up where her mom and I began. Banal or not... around and around it goes.
Welcome to the world, LJ.
You picked a wonderful set of parents.