THE MYSTERY OF LIFE
by Deborah Elliott-Upton
Yesterday, I spent most of the day/evening at the hospital. No one was ill. In fact, the doctor delivered good news, along with our granddaughter, Francesca Deborah Suzanne. She’s quite precious and beautiful and just about everything we could have ordered if there were such a catalog. Whenever they shooed us from my daughter’s room and into the waiting area, I find myself thinking of all the drama playing out every day before my eyes. There’s always a mystery hidden beneath what people are saying and what their body language is revealing.
Since we’re on a maternity floor, everyone seems happy. They are expecting good news. But, as the hours tick by, people get tired and nerves move from rare to overdone. You can see which mothers-in-law are most excited about the proposition of becoming grandmothers. Grandfathers come in different temps, too. Some are elated (these are usually the son’s dads) and the fathers of the baby’s mother usually wear more sedate expressions as they are always a bit worried about their daughters. The seasoned grandparents are more on an equal status. They’ve been here before and it’s like carving another notch on a gunfighter’s belt. Just a fact of life.
We watched a four-year-old dance around the room floating bee-like, à la Muhammad Ali. The dark-headed boy wore a shirt that said I’M THE BIG BROTHER. When asked if he was getting a brother or a sister, he answered deadpan, “A brother.”
“Oh, so you’ll have someone to play catch with?” my husband asked.
The expression on this kid was priceless. He was obviously in the company of dolts. “Not catch. Football.”
“Are you the quarterback or the linebacker?”
“And what’s your name?” I asked.
Again, he looked like he was conversing with an idiot. Without hesitation he said, “Tony Romo.”
The kid’s eyes were grinning, but his lips never did. I felt like he was playing with us and not about to let us see what he was really thinking. That was his business and we were just old people who had no clue.
His grandfather said this was their fifth grandchild. He leaned back in his chair and just smiled. I understood what his body language was screaming. He gets to have the fun without any of the problems of being a parent.
That’s probably the best part of grandparenthood. You aren’t responsible for anything except their safety. That’s a nice seat to be sitting in. There’s not even a seatbelt restriction. You are free to move around and be who you are, because although you’re sort of an example, this time you can have a lot more fun. Now you can be the pal and confidant. For some reason, grandkids believe you when you tell them why they shouldn’t do certain things when they’d never believe the same information from their parents.
I remember once when we were kids and my sister was grounded. I marched her into our parent’s bedroom and conducted a “trial” on Sue’s behalf. I must have been a good lawyer because we walked out fifteen minutes later with my “client” cleared of all charges and released from any groundedness.
She was surprised. I was heady with ego. My parents were probably happy to be done with us for a while.
Sue gave me a bite off her Hershey bar as payment. I think that made me a professional, but I was practicing without a license.
I wonder how Tony Romo (or at least this miniature version) will turn out in life. I hope he never loses that excitement where he just can’t sit still. The time where he can be whomever he dreams. And I also hope he keeps that twinkle in his eye and a shade of mystery to his real life. No one needs to know everything about us. Like Shrek surmised: We’re like an onion. There are layers.
Life is a mystery and since we’re all mystery-lovers here, I think that’s grand. But maybe that’s just how I’m thinking right now as a grandmother a.k.a. Nanny. I can’t wait for this next mystery to get started.