Thursday, January 24, 2008

The moving finger writes...

...and time marches on. Or something like that. I'm mixing my poems and axioms.

Age will do that to you.

I've often written about my parenting exploits. I've been a mother for almost exactly half my life, and nearly all of my adult life. Much of my identity is tied up in the apron strings of motherhood. "Mother" is a title I'm happy and comfortable with.

I'm about to get a new title. A new and unfamiliar title, heretofore reserved only for women of another generation, women older and wiser and even more motherly than I. Women like my mother and her mother, whose ranks I am about to join.


The word looks suddenly odd to me.

When I think of Grandma, I think of my own Grammas, women born very early in the 20th century, women who had gray hair before I knew them, comfortable women who wore dresses and tiny curls in their hair, who knew all sorts of history before it was history. I'm stuck on that. Those are grandmothers. I'm only a mother.

A mother whose daughter is about to become a mother.

From where I sit, her becoming a mother is even more surreal than my becoming a grandmother. My baby? The darling toddler who sat on a dark-stained wooden chair in front of the washer and dryer, waiting for her cloth doll to be freshly laundered? That little girl with the blonde curls cascading down her back, wearing a blue denim jumper and little white Mary Janes?

When on earth did she get old enough to have a baby?


I don't remember.

She'll be 21 when the baby comes. She lives in a townhouse with her significant other, her intended, and it's there they will bring home their baby. He works and she works, and they buy groceries and keep house and cook. They aren't children, but they seem so young.

I was just shy of 21 when she was born. I don't think I felt as young as she seems. How our perceptions change. Twenty-one years ago this month, I donned my first maternity blouse, awaiting the day when my baby would come.

Now, full circle, we wait for hers.