Friday, October 1, 2010

COMING ATTRACTION

Yesterday morning, my oldest daughter Stephanie called from New Iberia and asked me what I planned to do that day. I told her that I was searching for blog material, and we were going over to Collegedale, Tennessee near Chattanooga to see the Little Debbie factory. “You’re kidding me, you don’t ever eat anything like that,” she said. “I know, I know,” I answered, “I had to take your sister to a fat farm in Texas one summer because she ate her way through cartons of chocolate Little Debbies, but I’ve run out of subject matter.”

“Why don’t you write about your great-grandchild to be?” she suggested. “Martin is going to the doctor with Kristin today, and he’ll do an ultrasound. It has to be screened though – he doesn’t want to know the sex of the child.” I refrained from asking why. I guess it’s some kind of superstition that harks back to either a Cajun traiteur or a Scots preacher lurking in our family background. In any case, the family is bent out of shape not be able to plan for color coordination of the infant’s wardrobe. Sure enough, I received an ultrasound via e-mail yesterday afternoon, (shown above, with the arm waving at the world) and here I am, writing about the birth of “it” that will occur in February. Kristin and Martin say that it looks like E.T. but I do hope an extraterrestrial isn’t going to be added to our family eccentricities.

Martin, my first grandson, was born on my birthday and has been special in my life for over 30 years. He’s a handsome, black haired fellow who is losing his hair (but wait until the infant terrible arrives and the Time of the Midnight Colic strikes – then we’ll watch him slowly become bald!). He practices landscape architecture in Madisonville, Louisiana and has appeared on my blogs several times with and without his charming wife, Kristin.   Martin also designs my book covers and does a great job of showcasing my work.

And now he’s making me a great-grandmother at the age of 75 ½! My last grandchild isn’t even eight years old! It’s great to have something in common with Queen Elizabeth as she is expecting her first great-grandchild in December. It’s also nice to become a “great” something or the other, but I’m wondering if I’ll fit the image of a white-haired sage exuding sweetness and wisdom for the newest addition to the family, or if it will have to put up with the iconoclast that I am, secretly wishing that I’d look like a regular great-grandmother instead of showing up for birthday parties in my blue jeans and polo shirts.

Another concern I have is whether I can come up with a name that fits the role – like Gaggie or Big Mama (sometimes called Memog in French) – maybe Grand Mom or Grand Dame which hints of stellar qualities and Super Mom characteristics. I’m hoping it can speak of me in the same way that Ellen DeGeneres speaks of her grandmother: “My [great] grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60; now she’s [76], and we don’t know where the [hek] she is…”

Martin and Kristin’s offspring will probably think that I’ve been around as long as model T autos and that I belong to the era when dishwashers, washers, air conditioning, two bathroom houses, and central heating were non-existent, which means that I just missed being in the age of dinosaurs.

Today, however, I saw a group of cartoons on the internet in which some old granny woman is dishing out advice that is fairly contemporary, and I’m going to pass on some choice sayings to this infant whose father won’t let the doctors identify its sex:

Never go to bed angry, stay up and plot your revenge.
You’re not yourself today, I noticed the improvement immediately.
Did you eat an extra bowl of stupid this morning?
If you have something to say, raise your hand.
Would you like cheese to go with your whine?
Don’t let your mind wander…it’s too small to be let out on its own, etc.

All levity aside, more poetry than wisecracking comes to my mind at the thought of the birth of the one to come, and I hope Kristin is saying to it in the womb: “You run in me/a tang of salt in the creek waters of my blood,/you sing in my mind like wine. What you did not dare in your life/ you dare in mine.” (From MY MOTHER’S BODY by Marge Piercy). As for you, Martin, you need to stop horsing around and find out whether we should order a carton of  blue or pink diapers. As that old grandma I quoted above would say, “Don’t believe everything you think.”
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