My mom recently came to see my husband and me for two weeks in Nashville. Actually, let’s go ahead and be realistic here… she came to see our daughter, Gray. And aside from bearing gifts for her beloved grandchild, as grandmothers are prone and entitled to do, she also had goodies (of sorts) for me. I suspect she’s been investing some serious time in cleaning out her attic, because she volunteered various keepsakes she has been “saving” for me for the last several decades. It was a scary little blast from the past that made me question just how much of a packrat my mother really is. Not that I’m claiming to be much better, mind you! The thing is, I’m the oldest of four kids, and I imagine she’s storing an equal amount of my siblings’ souvenirs alongside mine. I envision her attic as a shrine to report cards, tap shoes, Tonka trucks and notes to the Easter Bunny. Photos and papers and junk, oh my!
Day one of her visit, my mother opened her suitcase to reveal such childhood relics as my rock collection, doll collection, coin collection, and…wait for it… eraser collection. Ah yes, because I’ve surely been leading a dysfunctional existence without all of those. She even threatened to tote my button collection along on her next trip down, as in: the ones that adorned my “fly” jean jacket in the 80’s. God help me! In all seriousness, and my intention certainly isn’t to poke fun here, I fear I may have been a young hoarder in the making. Anyway, I’m unsure what my mother expects me to do with all of these artifacts that she has amassed over the years, but I suspect they are still attic-bound, despite their change in venue. They will probably serve as honorable companions to the mementos I begin to stockpile for my own daughter; an assortment of her eventual handiwork and objets d’art, such as picture frames made out of macaroni noodles and clay mugs that say “#1 Mom.” It’s tough to get rid of objects that hold so many memories. They become a sentimental part of the long goodbye to our youth.
Gray is only four months old, and I confess to feeling a nudge of anxiety about her growing up. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but part of me is already dreading the day that finds me ‘’putting away her childish things.’’ It’s no secret that life won’t slow down to wait while we mourn the loss of days gone by, so each passing phase of my daughter’s young life is a bittersweet adventure. On the one hand, I’m thrilled to see her achieve the next great milestone such as smiling, waving and blowing kisses. On the other hand, I’m devastated to leave another stage of her infancy behind. She has already graduated out of her newborn clothes and diapers, and moved beyond the teeny tiny baby stage, which renders me a bit weepy. (For the record, we are now in the weeble wobble, wiggle worm, spitting up incessantly, stick your hand in your mouth so you can drool everywhere phase.) But the scariest chapters in her childhood are closer on the horizon than I’d like to admit. You know, those that give way to baby-proofing the house– a.k.a. crawling and walking. I tremble just thinking about the first time she’ll bump her head on our dining room table, or take her first tumble on the hardwood floor. The concept of my daughter becoming mobile is incredibly nerve-racking. But alas, it is a rite of passage for both of us. Apprehensions aside, I cannot wait to witness the pure joy on her face as she chases our dogs through the yard (though I may be slightly more excited about this prospect than they are). I look forward to seeing her discover the world around her, as she grows into the woman she will become. Like I said, it’s a bittersweet journey.
This brings me back to my mom’s visit. One rainy afternoon, we sat down to enjoy coffee and discuss my jitters over the thought of Gray’s impending first steps. I realize these are a few months down the road, at least I hope this is the case, but I’m a first-time mom… Worrying is my new part-time job! Our conversation gave way to a fun exchange of anecdotes from my own childhood, and Mom launched into some fantastic–albeit embarrassing– stories about my mischievous ways. “Do you have any memorable sagas about my crawling, walking, or running?” I inquired of her. And, in case you are wondering, this is the part of the blog where I repeatedly throw myself under the bus…
This particular blog installment happens to coincide with my once-a-month contribution for People.com. You can read the rest of this week’s post, including more of my childhood photos and stories, by visiting my blog there… Please also check back here next Friday, for an exclusive Cradle Chronicles post! In the meantime, if you haven’t read last week’s “Gone Country”, you’ll find it below!
Until next time… Peace, Love & Dirty Diapers,
Jenna von Oy
PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!