A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || June 1, 2014 || 3:39 pm

There is one picture of me in my Mother’s belly. She is in an aqua housedress, holding a casserole dish out in front of her –gripped with potholder hands– and beaming. “It was my first banana pudding,” she said to me one time as I was poring over the old pictures of me, them, us. My mother, willowy as a song (despite fat-cheeked me being lodged solidly in her middle), with those dancer’s legs and that sassmouthed smile, didn’t make her first banana pudding until she was twenty-two years old.

How amazing is that? If you’d tasted one of my Mother’s banana puddings, you would know what I’m talking about. That she’d only just learned to make nanner puddin’ a couple of months before I was born sounds like a lie, because her banana pudding tastes like decades of gooey-delicious pot-tending and nanner-slicing.

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There is one picture of me with Scout in my belly. I was wearing a coral swing top and crisp white stirrup pants. I daresay I looked cute. It takes a lot for me to like a photograph of myself. That one? That one I like wholeheartedly. I have a rag in my hand and I’m wiping a table after an ice cream social that I’d thrown for my weekly class of eleven three- and four-year old Sunday Schoolers. I’m beaming, too; I look happy in a way that jumps out of the frame and wraps itself around me.

I look good in coral. I hate it overall as a color, but I look really good in it. Such a challenge, to hate something that naturally suits you. Startling, innit, how you can be happy and shine that far outward even if you don’t like the color you’re wearing. Funnier still is how we buck against things that naturally suit us. Are we pretending they don’t? How much truth is in our distaste, and how much self-delusion?

Anyway, I’m smiling big in that photograph, having forgotten both myself and the camera. I like to think that each time we smile while we are pregnant, womenfolk, that we ensure a tiny measure of goodness in our developing child’s life. Banking joy to shore them up, you know? I believe that laughter and song before these babies of ours get here means that they will learn early on what these things are –learn the chemical feelgood of them– and seek them out for themselves.

That sounds like something I should have just told them, my three and all the strays that I’ve inadvertently mothered: “Run toward laughter, putti, surround yourself with song.” Hopefully I showed them enough that they didn’t need telling. Maybe I was enough measure of goodwill and spirited approach that some fancy emotional osmosis manifested itself.

I reckon now that I’ve had that epiphany, though, I could just tell my grandkids when they get here, make it easy on them. That is the value of grandparents: The good ones make it easy on you. I am going to try like hell to excel at the fine art of grandparenting. I am going to Grandparent Like Whoa, is what I’m saying. I had a couple of really shitty examples and a couple of really good examples by which to cast my measure of What It Takes To Be A Bang-Up Grand.

They were all dead by the time I was fourteen, but they are each indelibly drawn deep in my middle. There was Clem and Mary and Susie and William: Two carpenters, one martyr, and one saint, every one a legend (if only to me). I reckon I am the best and the worst of each and every one depending on the day and the lighting.

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I wanted to be called Sugar. My whole family voted it down, and with extreme fucking prejudice.

What do they care what my grandkid calls me? It’s really between me and my grandkid. I don’t feel like a Nana or a Memaw or a Gramma or a Grandmother. I think it would be sensational and hilarious to have a three-year-old running around calling me ‘Sugar.’ Even better if it were accompanied by the same slight lisp that Scout had when she was stumbling around drunkenly in her toddler body.

So I’m not Sugar. I think that I will quietly teach all my future generations to call me The Best instead. How hysterical would that be?

But still: I wanted to be Sugar. I am going to hold this one against my ingrate family for a long time, maybe. Who are they to tell me who and what I am?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I am learning to let things go. It feels weird. Stay tuned, I’ll likely tell you all about it at some point.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Okay, I was gonna hang onto this for a bit longer, because I am keeping it close and relishing it, but I remembered something that happened one afternoon and I am still real tickled by it, just like it was yesterday. Only, it wasn’t. It was on New Year’s Day.

In order to give you context for the story, I have to go like this:

babyannounce
:: Guys, guys! I’m going to be a grandmommy! ::

I’ll give you a minute, because I was reminded on Instagram lately that some of you have been around long enough to see my kids grow up, and in a very literal way.

…..
…..

You good now? You got your breathing steady again?

We –Maxim and me– got the news on Christmas Day, after brunch and just before Scout left out for her annual Christmas Afternoon Dinner with her father.

Just like a true Southern Belle: Don’t disrupt a brunch unless someone is bleeding real bad. Pumpkin Pancakes! Shrimp and grits! Hashbrown casserole with fancy, once-per-year, sausage and cheese.* Jett’s four peach bellinis (MERRY CHRISTMAAAAS!).

Plus, if we’re being totally honest here, she was playing it smart, that Scout. If things went downhill fast, she would be able to flee to her Father’s house while I was busy melting the paint off the walls with the steely ragelasers my eyeballs shot out.

She was terrified to say them, the words, so she put a smallish envelope in my hands and my heart flung itself into my sternum because the thing I was holding was neither thick nor heavy enough to be a card and I knew what was in there even as I touched it. Well I’ll be damned. How are we here already?

“I thought you were going to hit me,” she told me later about her reluctance to tell us. What a hard few weeks that must have been to be so sick and stay so quiet.

“Don’t be silly,” I laughed, “I’d NEVER hit a pregnant woman. I’m going to wait until the baby gets here and THEN I’ll beat the hell out of you.”

What I said that day, though, and what I mean to this day is, “Oh, Scouty, it doesn’t matter how it gets here; a baby is always a blessing.” She stepped into my arms then, and I squeezed her while kissing the top of her head.

So New Year’s Day, then: We were out in the big city getting Scout all registered up.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

She was there, the other grandmother, and we got to piddling around in the Christmas clearance. Scout had brought a friend and they were both equipped with scanners and excitedly lasering up the baby section. Eventually she texted me:
“Are you coming over here or what, woman?”
I put back the eleventy clearance stockings I had picked up, I grabbed Other Grandmother, and we went to squee over all the extraneous nonsense that American stockists deem necessary for optimal parenting these days.

(Please allow me to interject here that I think the Diaper Genie is the most ridiculous piece of baby-related detritus EVER in the history of EVER. Yes, I feel all-caps strong about that issue. I, who give not one single shit about what God you serve or what gender you feel up in backseats, will debate you for days and days over the stupidity of the Diaper Genie.)

I meandered behind Scout for a couple of aisles, then we reached the shelves where they keep the strollers elevated to eye level so’s you can remark on the awesomeness of the wheels or sommat. Scout creamed that aisle. She scanned various strollers and stroller/carseat combos, ranging in price from $24.99 to $289.99. I had perplexed face for about fourteen seconds and then disgusted face for about one second, and then I said to my daughter, “Hey. Pick the one you like best and go with that. Take the others off. That’s a bit much, don’t you think?”

“Mom!” Scout exclaimed, “I want people to have plenty to choose from, and also I don’t know what people can afford to spend.”

This drew me up short. Here I thought she was thinking only of herself with the excited wanton strollerscanning, but what she was actually doing was thinking of others, not wanting to limit them while she carefully selected five strollers.

It was an excellent reminder of the very real gap that often exists between the motivations of people and others’ interpretation of their actions. I nodded and told her that made sense to me.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Nova. You are a rosy incantation to me already. One time your mama asked if the moon could come home with us, since it was following the car so doggedly. I told her to ask that moon to hang around outside her bedroom if she wanted it to and she did. I love your mama so much that I’d let her have the company of the moon if she wanted it.

m-o-o-nspellslove
:: m-o-o-n spells love ::

You, Novapie? Well you don’t even have to bother asking: For you I’d lasso the moon before you even got here and contain it above your bed for your amusement, because I am now and always will be your Sugar, and you will always be my glimpse into tomorrow and my perspective changer.

We are going to be one fine dynamic duo.

*but still with a generic can of cream of mushroom soup to keep us hillbilly humble

12 worked it out »

  1. Brynne 6.1.2014

    SQUEEEE!

     
  2. MidLyfeMama 6.1.2014

    I will from one and forever,call you Sugar. It won’t be the same as a toddler doing it, but I will.

     
  3. Amanda 6.1.2014

    Please write more or move closer.

    Damn.

    All the wonder and hurt and wisdom and salty, lusty tears of life lived with the daring to love.

    Blessings all around.

    love. love. and more love.

     
  4. alexandra 6.1.2014

    Takes me right back to that lightning bolt of your first post for me. When I never even knew that matter-transforming writing like this could be had by just typing in literally, alphabet.

    Congratulations, I hope this baby has you writing our eyeballs off.

    xo

     
  5. Cheryl 6.2.2014

    I’ve been wanting to tell you this for awhile: CONGRATULATIONS all around!

    My mom was a grandmother at 36 and a great-grandmother at 54. My sister’s 3 grandchildren have never called her anything except Michelle because that’s how she rolls. My mom has had so many different names bestowed upon her by her grands and great-grands, it’s sometimes hard to keep track. My favorite is Grammy Dear, given to her by my great-nephew because he had so many great-great grands and grands he had to get creative to keep track of them all. I have always been Cheryl, never Aunt Cheryl, because I was only 16 when my first niece came along and she mostly grew up in the family home and was more like the youngest kid than a separate generation. All this is folderol is to let you know it’s really your choice what your grandbaby calls you and Sugar is really the best damn name I’ve heard since Grammy Dear. It fits.

     
  6. Chris Robinson 6.2.2014

    I think “Sugar” absolutely correct. Congratulations!!!

     
  7. Blanchfield! 6.2.2014

    CONGRATS Sugar!!! Mucho love to your whole “famn damily” as my daddy always says. <3

     
  8. Jett Superior 6.2.2014

    THANK YOU, everyone! ♥

     
  9. Chibi Jeebs 6.2.2014

    *squee!* Congrat, Sugar! :D I wondered if that was Scouty on Instagram this morning, but wasn’t sure if I was just way out of the loop. So awesome! <3

    "It was an excellent reminder of the very real gap that often exists between the motivations of people and others’ interpretation of their actions."

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Lines like this are why I will *always* share your prose.
    xoxo

     
  10. velocibadgergirl 6.5.2014

    Damn, Sugar, this one made me cry. CONGRATS!! Nova is one lucky baby and I can’t wait to read her stories <3

     
  11. monstergirlee 6.6.2014

    Oh Sugar it’s going to be amazing!
    Congrats to everyone involved. Yay :-)

     
  12. Jett Superior 6.20.2014

    By way of followup:
    Nova Alba-Rae,
    5 June
    7lbs2oz, 19½”
    my head fell open and stars danced out

     

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