I’m going to be a grandmother again. So are two of my girlfriends, and another one just became grandmammy of twins. That’s what happens when young couples go messing around, or fly off to another country to undergo In Vetro Fertilization. At least an airplane ride and intrafallopian tube transfer can spare the neighbors the torture of hearing something else.
In the eighties, I always hoped I would get knocked up by watching Magnum PI. I wanted my children to be sired by Tom Selleck so they could have his strong stature and deep dimples. Plus I thought it would be nice to raise our offspring in the guest house of a posh two hundred acre beachfront estate and have Higgins to babysit. He seemed like the grandfatherly type. Well, that didn’t happen. I raised my offspring in a cozy quartered barrio shoebox surrounded by neighbors who never wanted to babysit. I suppose I haven’t set a very good example to young women by saying I would have slept with Tom while I was married. But I’ll betcha millions of his other women viewers would have put aside their guilt associated with the blessed sacrament of wedlock to do exactly the same thing. Perhaps I should be emphasizing the importance of a strong bond between two people. Not give a lesson on lust. But I gotta say, this child stuff starts with lust and continues with lust, when your every desire is be around that baby and grandbaby.
My first pregnancy, someone should have congratulated me on staying nine months sober. And while birthing, I was looking at a future already limited by pain and the failure to comprehend the arcane art of common childbearing, as if it was testing my endurance levels for teen exposure. I was a modest infant deliverer, and found it demoralizing retreating to a table disrobed. My doctor began breathing a bit heavier, so I assumed he either had respiratory problems, or a passion for expectant mothers. I shouldn’t have worn perfume that day, or makeup.
Then the moaning began. I figured if Empresses of the 1800’s were satisfied using chloroform while laboring children, I just knew it wasn’t going to be good enough for me. I wanted something that would take the edge off for the rest of my child filled life. Or at least be inoculated with the highest quality palliative painkiller for slicing my privates and yanking out darling dumplings from my pressure cooker. But my epidural didn’t take. The doctor said that when I stopped choking him, he’d do whatever he could to deliver the baby to me. He was somewhat gentle, a mild cross between my butcher and Edward Scissorhands. I grunted, groaned, cursed the ceiling tiles and the nurses who stood there acting like I was a complete wimp. I doubt these women were mothers.
A lady friend of mine said she never needed anesthetics. I asked her if she gave birth to ants. My mother told me, “This pain is the hardest to endure, and the easiest to forget.” She had ten planned pregnancies, bless her poor strained body. It wouldn’t have been so bad if my weebles hadn’t weighed in at hippo poundage plus forty thousand ounces…kicking and screaming for some nourishment and a lifetime pass to Disneyland.
My sweaty experience was part due to the dedication of….. you probably thought I was going to say my husband. The daddio and meekly ministry of labor would have rather sat in a bar sipping brewskis than watch me scream. After a faint moment of falling over, I would have easily dabbed his lacerations with anesthetic. So I assumed he would be just as accommodating by sitting there nicely holding my hand. What I really wanted was Cheerios. All I remember is him saying, “It’s three o’clock in the afternoon. Breakfast isn’t for another eighteen hours.” I would have fired him if he didn’t have a larger family to support. It was time for him to go home and make room in his wallet for photos of another fine babe, and relinquish those pictures of Raquel Welch.
I took in all those live and learning fundamentals of parenting. My first daughter pooped mustard colored feces and I frantically called the doctor. My second daughter pooped up a penny and I started her future jean fund. My third daughter promoted literacy while pooping by reading Dr. Suess over and over. The teen years were a tad harder. I knew not to have any more teenagers after the third one. Nora Ephron said it perfectly. “When you have teens, it’s good to own a dog so someone in your house will be happy to see you.”
Being a grandmother means living happily ever after. It’s a time when we finally get parenting right and we can reap the benefits of adoration. I will never again be in grave danger of screwing up suppers or playtime activities. We provide good times, lots of treats, and know that only eggs can become rotten. The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is because they have a common enemy.
My ten year old granddaughter announced that she’d like to visit me for a week, alone. When she comes, I need to remind her about human frailty. She already knows about Humpty Dumpty falling and that Jack tumbled down a hill cracking his head open. So she needs to be aware of something. If I’m going to jump rope with her or do some trampolining, she should remind me to wear a bra, and pad the cement.