“She’s figured out how to shriek. She’s been babbling and yelping all day long.”
“You were just like that. It would appear you have the same baby as I did,” my mom laughs over the phone as I lay tickling Joanie’s feet on the bed.
“I hope I don’t have the same teenager.”
“If you do, I’ll be there for you like your grandfather was there for me.”
“You’re going to make me cry.”
“I used to cry on the phone and he’d always say…”
“She’ll turn out fine,” we said in unison.
As I teenager I was a jerk. I wouldn’t come home for days and then go on a rampage when my mom told me I couldn’t stay out until 2am on a Wednesday.
“I’m going to Brian’s,” I’d yell. Brian was my seventeen-year-old boyfriend. He had pink hair, loved raves and his mom worked at his step dad’s bingo hall. You can imagine my mother’s joy when I brought him home and he introduced himself as Sparkle Boy.
My poor mom withstood this sort of nonsense until I moved out when I was eighteen. Even then she fielded drunken phone calls about oafish boys in the middle of the night.
Fortunately, since then we’ve become very close. We talk every day and I’m careful to repeatedly thank her for tolerating my adolescent fatuity. I learned to appreciate my mom, not just as my mom, but as a person through a series of phone calls in which I learned to ask her how she was doing, what she thought, and how she dealt with the world when she was in her twenties. It was through these talks that I started to feel guilty for the way I disregarded her feelings as I oscillated back and forth between demanding money and scream crying.
Another layer of admiration has developed since the birth of my daughter: I have been introduced to my mom, the Granny. My mom and I can now discuss things mom-to-mom. I call her every time Joanie does something new or something I don’t understand. Rather than listen to me whine about boys she calmly hears my panic about dangling umbilical cord scabs and the little patches of red skin I caused when I pinched the skin on Joanie’s arm in a car seat buckle.
It’s been a delight to watch my mom slip into the role of grandmother as effortlessly and naturally as she has. She makes adorable knitted blueberry shaped hats. She’s eager to bounce Joanie on her knee while I run the tenth load of laundry. She isn’t overbearing like I’ve heard some grannies can be but she stays close, just a phone call away.
So here’s to my mom who didn’t have an easy go with her daughter’s adolescence, but remains a loving ear, a strong role model, and a terrific grandmother.