My grandmothers were pearl girls.
My Grammie gave me my first strand when I was five, a graduated string with the largest in the middle and one added each year as I grew. She was straitlaced, knew the rules and liked them, and cooked three meals a day every day of her life.
My Granna, wild child, wore long drapes of pearls, had four husbands and was asked to give up her membership at the club after she and her girlfriends danced in the fountain in their gowns on New Years Eve.
I loved them beyond measure. They both provided lessons in mothering: My Grammie teaching how to make baby food from scratch and my Granna sitting cross legged on the floor with Baby Chicken telling her tales of travel around the world.
My mothering turned out to be a cross between the two.
The Chickens were equally exposed to church every Sunday and dance parties with hairbrush microphones and costumes. No one does a better rendition of, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” than Oldest Chicken, although he may deny it now. The Chickens had formal dinners at the country club and clean the freezer nights when The Norwegian was out of town. Don’t know clean the freezer night? Girl, where have you been? You know how you have three Bagel Bites and two frozen waffles left? The fridge has some grapes, a chicken leg and some mac and cheese. You warm it all up and spread it about the table. It’s a Bacchanal Buffet at home. In your jammies.
End of this week, I travel to Seattle as the time has come for Baby Pea and Oldest Chicken to welcome their little one. My bitty grandson is making his debut any day now. And I ponder–what kind of grandmother will I be? Unlike mothering, I can choose to craft whatever I might like since the rules don’t apply to me. I’m just there for fun. All I have to provide is love. And kisses. And getting lost in that smell–the elixir that is the scent of baby head. I know it will be the first thing I do upon holding the precious child. Breathe him in.
Baby Chicken christened me “Lindy.” The funniest of the offspring, she hated to be in trouble. Her answer when her mother was angry? “Ooh, Lindy’s wearing her angry pants.” Try to stay mad at a child when that nonsense is about. The moniker grew and expanded depending on mood, “Pants, Sassy Pants, Spicy Pants, Happy Pants, Fancy Pants,”–you get the drift.
Since then, the Chickens call their mother Lindy. Oldest Chicken, bemused as he might be, does not play the game. His son will. I will be Lindy to the next generation. It fits. It’s the perfect combination of my grandmothers.
Next week, the newest little one will join the world, see his first set of pearls about my neck and I will whisper, “Hello my precious. I’m Lindy. I’m the one who will teach you to dance.”