Substitute Grandma

Lynnette’s parents are on a cruise for a while so my mom has graciously volunteered to watch Cole and Avery during the day. Today was her first day of duty. It was also standardized testing day at work. This is one of the best days of the year. Everyone shows up, the teachers administer an exam that the students take, then everyone goes home just in time for lunch. I picked up lunch for myself and my mom on the way home.

1I got home just in time to help my mom feed the twins lunch. Cole and Avery were happy to see me, but the novelty wore off quickly as it always does. I was surprised to find out that Cole had gotten very clingy with my mom. “Mama #1 is gone, he’s just grabbing on to #2,” my mom said. Her guess is as good as any. I had hoped that after we fed the twins she and I would be able to eat lunch together, but it would not work out that way. Cole was despondent that Grandma Higa was not in the play area. So she sat in there with him and held him while they watched their 257th episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse together. “Sellout” I whispered into his ear as I placed him in my lap when Grandma went to use the bathroom.

Eventually my mom did get to eat her lunch. It was almost 2 in the afternoon when I told her she could go home. Madison was already home and that evened the odds. “You sure?” my mom asked. “Yeah, we got it,” I said. “You don’t have something to do or take care of?” she asked. “The only thing I need to take care of is a nap,” I said, about 9% jokingly. “Go ahead,” she said.And so I did. It was a heavy nap. It lasted for an hour, but felt like 5 because I knew the kids were good. When I got up, I came back into the living room and my mom and I had a nice talk while the kids chewed on fake plastic food.

My mom stayed even after Lynnette came home. She helped Lynnette feed Cole and Avery dinner as I made dinner for human residents over the age of 11 months. She left when I was nearly finished cooking. I made spaghetti with homemade meatballs. I saved some for my mom, but kept the noodles separate from the sauce because that’s how she likes it. She’s the only person in my family who prefers her pasta this way.

For so long my mom and I were the proverbial oil and water in our family. It wasn’t until I moved out that we started to get along better. Maybe she just needed to know that there was another woman around to watch over me and take care of me and passive-aggressively tell me how to live my life. I don’t know. But I know that on my side, it took becoming a parent for me to understand her. To be fair, there’s still so many of her choices in raising me that I disagree with, but I can see the weird parent-logic behind them now, the degree of difficulty in making the thousands of individual decisions – how sometimes a choice is 6-sided calculus problem that is an amalgamation of what you want to do, what you should do, what you have to do, when to do it, how to do it, and finally if you have the will to go through with any of it. There’s no manual and no test run so the only thing you can do is your best.

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