If it weren’t for the fact that Seabass’ Grandma Lewis is in town right now, I may have been found under a bridge somewhere with a shopping cart and a pet rat, claiming I shot JFK.
Today is a tough day following yesterday’s tough day – and the cumulative toughness is getting to me. But it’s not getting to Grandma Lewis. In fact, I don’t think she even registers toughness. Seabass can cry in her ear from sunup to sundown and she takes it in stride. “His crying doesn’t bother me,” she says. I swear she’s a lunatic, but I’ll take it.
This is her first grandbaby, so the lengths to which she’ll go for him are really something. Earlier today, I had to hand the wee screaming C off to her in order to prepare a slap-dash lunch for friends coming over. She picked him up and the yelling traveled from the kitchen back to his nursery where it trickled down to a bare whimper and eventually to silence. A few moments later, I walked back to witness her trick for quieting him and found her bending at a back-breaking angle over the crib to let him suck her knuckles. I think she would have kept doing it so long as he would have kept sucking. Apparently, she was more than happy to do it. Almost like it was a privilege.
It’s still difficult to picture myself as a mother, so imagining myself as a grandmother is nearly impossible. But I see in both Grandma Lewis and Oma Johnson an insanely high threshold for pain that appears to be biologically specific only to grandmothers. When Oma Johnson stayed with us for 3 weeks in June, she was up and at ’em every time Seabass so much as blinked funny. (I’m pretty sure she could hear him blink, even on the baby monitor.) “Mom, don’t worry about it – I’ll go,” I’d say.
“You sit. I’ll handle this.” And then she’d sashay off to coo and rattle cute nonsense into Seabass’ ear while I was left to eat my flavorless breastfeeding gruel or whatever in silence.
It’s not just biological grandmothers who have this super-human endurance, though. A dear friend who lives two doors down and is like a second mother to me just loves – LOVES – baby C and will walk up and down the street with him for hours just so Jake and I can have an adult conversation that doesn’t cover the color of the baby’s poop for once. One time she did this up and down the alley next to our house for 30 full minutes while C let loose with a full-forced, purple-faced, tongue-waggling shriek, just so we could eat a meal in peace. “Did his crying bother the neighbors?” I asked after she returned.
“Nah,” she said, shooing us with her hand, as though we were crazy to be bothered by infant death screeches.
The next day, one neighbor asked what I was eating to make C cry like that. Another shared that they had to turn their TV volume to the maximum to drown out his crying. So much for walking the alley.
But that’s just it: the grandmas don’t care. It’s like they don’t hear it. Seabass could be Rosemary’s baby, and they’d all find him charming and “feisty.”
All I have to say is thank goodness.