The reluctant grandmother

“People are calling me names.” I muttered to my husband.

“Names. You mean…like…Carol-Ane?”

“No.” I glared at him, and paused. “Grandma. And” I continued shuddering “Granny.”

He laughed at me.

I realized that I might be getting into something a couple of months before.

I was at a knitting group, attended by two of my sister-in-laws. It was a lovely gathering in a well-appointed family room, close by a kitchen, with ample refreshments. But. My sister-in-laws were up to their usual tricks, trying to have fun at my expense.

“Alpacas.” They declared. “Wouldn’t that be a good hobby for Paul to pick up? You could spin their coats into wool and use it to knit?”

I reflected silently that at least none of my husbands multiple hobbies had involved any living creatures, and wondered how to answer.

“Alpaca’s poop.” I replied succinctly. “I don’t want any involvement with anything that poops.”

They exchanged significant looks. One of them spoke up.

“Carol-Ane” they said gently. “You are about to have a grandchild.” They paused, looking for the right words. “Babies…poop.”

I dropped my knitting needles.

It’s not that I’m not ready to be a grandmother. Really. I mean, I’ve been plotting and scheming to be a grandmother for years. I’ve always wanted to be a real grandmother, someone who actually… umm… interacts with the creatures. In person, as opposed to by Skye from Florida.

But. Now he’s here and I’m…. scared.

He’s just so small. I’m afraid I’ll break him. Or drop him, like an expensive piece of glassware. Plus, he’s got the wobbly head thing going on. And I don’t know what to do with babies. When my own were that young, I could fix whatever was wrong by just nursing them.

“I’m a one-trick pony who’s forgotten the trick.” I whined to my husband.

But he was busy. He was holding Abel.

It was Fakemas, and everyone was looking. So I did try to have a conversation with my grandson, after prying him out of my husbands’ hands.

I held him, a little bit gingerly, and looked into his eyes. He looked up, rather suspiciously.

“I’m grandma.” I explained. “You’re going to want to know me.”

He furrowed his brow, and looked nervous.

“Really.“ I argued. “I’m going to feed you breakfast cookies. And buy you wickedly expensive Lego sets.”

His face started to do strange things, and he arched his back a little.

“And” I added, a bit more desperately. “I’ll let you play with Playdo on the kitchen table whenever you want. Plus I’ll take you on adventures! …All the way to the back yard. I’ll let you handle toads. And worms!” I promised madly, upping the ante.

Abel broke into loud wails. Actually I think I understood exactly what he was saying.

“Lady. I don’t know who you are, or how I ended up in your arms, but if you won’t change me, and can’t feed me, right at this moment, I have absolutely no use for you.”

Wow. That was loud and clear. I handed him back to his grandfather, who handed him to his father, who immediately handed him to his mother. Mother and child disappeared discretely upstairs.

My husband looked smug.

“He was fine for me.” He declared.

“Yeah? What’s your secret?” I asked resentfully.

“I promised him a ski trip.”

I thought of some names I’d like to call my husband. But I didn’t want the grandchild to hear them.

“Aww Mom.” My son said. “You’re gonna be a great grandmother. It’ll just take some time.”

I really shuddered.

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