Friday, May 14, 2010


I feel so blessed. In the last 10 months, I've had two new little granddaughters born. It is an embarrassment of riches, more grandchildren than arms. These little girls are so beautiful, all blue eyes and reddish blond hair, little bow mouths and pink cheeks, sqeezable chubby legs, bright sundress wearing, kissable feet and bellies, sweet necks and soft wispy hair on their heads to press my lips to. When I hold them I have to remind myself this is real. Two little girls at once.

I am learning about them and they are getting to know me, too. Angel is 9 months, petite, understands every word said to her, and is all doe-eyed. When I go to babysit, Angel smiles big, then looks at her mother, then me again and, she opens her mouth and screams bloody murder.   She knows her mom is going out. She knows me and yet, she doesn't. While we wait out her stranger anxiety, Angel cries until her nose is running, her tears flood her cheeks, I hold her over my shoulder and pat her back and bottom until she gives up and goes to sleep. When she wakes up, I change her diapers, kissing the bottoms of her feet and her toes. She's happy until she remembers...Mom is out. I try to distract her-we play with a Kleenex first on my head, then hers, she laughs and laughs, and then she remembers again...more tears.  Peek a boo works for awhile. Then her sorrow wells up again. We are getting there, soon she'll trust me and as I keep whispering in her ear, "You don't know it yet, but I'm going to be your best friend."

The newest baby, Ava, just turned 12 weeks old. All of a sudden she is all smiles, delicious chubby legs, pink cheeked, squirmy, cooing, sticking her tongue in and out copying me make faces at her. This week she made a noise like "Mom." My daughter and I looked at each other. My daughter said, "Did she just say Mom?" I think she did. We could be wrong, but we both heard the same thing.

The days are really beginning to feel like spring so I sat in the shade, wrapped her in a big orange blanket, and we watched birds, wind in the trees, listened to bird song, felt the balmy breeze. Not much talking. We just sat in comfortable silence. She likes to bounce on my right knee as we sit outside. Not my left knee ever.  Ava doesn't like being put over my shoulder at all. She misses her mom because my daughter went back to work this week and I'm filling in between her husband leaving to work in the afternoon. She's not eating much or sleeping much. She's bereft, of course, but she'll be fine. At 3:30 my daughter comes home, Ava screams at the sound of Mama in the house, then begins nuzzling, and settles in to nurse. 

Babies are amazing. It's like all their neurons are suddenly firing a million miles per hour. I think of all I want to say to them and teach them about the world. Then I think about my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quote:

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies — 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.' "    That's more than enough.

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