You’d think I was the one having a baby this week, not my daughter. Over the weekend, I cleaned everything in my house, down to the shower curtain and the vacuum cleaner filter. Today, I’m roasting squash, cooking beets and Brussels sprouts, and making homemade seasonings, and brown rice and pumpkin pudding. Later, I’ll do laundry and take the Jeep through the car wash. I have homework to do, but right now I don’t have enough concentration to tell you the difference between an amino acid and antifreeze.
I’ve been excitedly nervous prior to each grandchild’s arrival, but this one (affectionately known only to me and the friend that coined the name, “Caboose”) is different. Cassie developed a large subchorionic hematoma in her first trimester and it set us all on edge, especially Cassie (who wrote about it extensively on her blog, Sisters From Different Misters). But her fear and (undeserved) guilt gave rise to a unique resolve that Cassie somehow always finds, no matter what hits the fan. A resolve that radiates outward from the deepest recesses of her soul, the place she processes the things most people would wallow in.
The best example I can give of this is when Cass was 15 and her best friend, Tony, died in a car wreck. It took her years to work through her pain and loss, and her body is a testament to that process. When she got married, she considered using makeup to hide the symbols tattooed on her spine and on her wrists. But she said they serve to remind her where she was and how far she’s come. On her wedding day, she refused to hide or pretend to be something she’s not.
|Cassie after the P'burgh Marathon, 2012|
Sometimes I think of my grandchildren as makeup gifts from the universe for the ass-kicking I took in my early adulthood. On the flip side, I know I didn’t always make good decisions, either. That’s when I think of my grandchildren as personified forgiveness. But Claire, Luca, Mae, and Caboose wouldn’t be here without their amazingly resilient mother; a girl I birthed, but – in many ways – can’t take credit for. Who she is comes from within. That she is here on this earth, well, all I can say is, “I must have done something good.”