My daughter says I need to come up with a name for myself. A grandmother name. It’s something women do, women like me, grandmothers, they decide on their own names. Names like Nana or Mamey.
–How about Mimi, that’s a good name.
–You can’t just make up a random name.
–I’m not making up a random name. If I was making up a random name, I’d say something like Josette. Have the baby call me Josette.
–That’s not the right kind of name.
I call him the baby, or baby.
I’ve been trying to teach him to say, “Eat,” instead of whining when he wants food. His mother wants, “Eat please,” but we have to start small. Eat, I say. Eeeet. He is in his high chair, eating quinoa, cheerios and blueberries. Eeee, I say, t. I show him what my mouth does to make those sounds and he looks at me blankly. I give up finally and turn away, but when I am half way across the room, he shouts, “Eat.”
I took him to OSU today. A warm spring day. He loved the skateboarders and the bicycles. He was thrilled by a sports poster. He loved walking over a metal grate that made noise when he stepped. Sometimes he held my hand, but often he wanted to walk alone, as if he was just some guy, walking along on the campus. Some very short guy.
“Why are there bad guys?” Sasha once asked me. If I had to name one personal obsessive existential question of my own, that would be it. Yeah, why are there bad guys??
Upon learning the definition of the word “cannibal,” four year old Sasha was quiet for moment. Then he turned to me and, hoping this was not some tradition he was only now becoming aware of, asked, “That’s bad, right, Mom?”
My birthday. I went to Market of Choice for coffee and to read Pico Iyer, Sun After Dark. Market of Choice is a good place to drink a cup of coffee in the morning. It is warm, first of all. You do not have to wear a coat when you drink a cup of coffee in Market of Choice. It’s clean and the chairs are comfortable. There is no loud startling music. It is not vegan. There are quiet out-of-the-way tables where you can sit alone and, when you look up, you see rows of produce or the sky. Grey today because it is November. It is November and all the cold, wet, sunless days are in front of us. It’s my birth month and probably will be the birth month of my grandson.
I had stopped writing much about personal things here. I’m trying to figure out the line between personal and private. I used to think there wasn’t one, but that is ridiculous.
Someone commented on my blog a while back that my writing was getting better, but that isn’t true. And anyway, it isn’t the point. Is it good? I don’t like to think of it like that.
A small quote from Pico Iyer: “as if we are sleepwalking through some diabolical plot that we can’t follow.”
Indries Shah says we have forgotten how to listen to stories. Do you remember reading stories as a child? I want to read like that again, like nothing else matters.
I grew up near a small woods in Greenville, South Carolina. I played there everyday, almost always alone. That was before everyone was afraid and stopped letting their little girls go off by themselves. When I started Catholic school in first grade and found out about sin, I was afraid that what I was doing in the woods was a violation of the First Commandment. I was afraid that I was putting the woods before God. At any rate, when I was in the natural world it was like I was an animal, a fox or a bird, with just my body and my senses and a feeling of belonging. I can’t feel like that now. Now in the woods, I’m mostly in my head. Sometimes I think about murderers. I think my husband still feels that way, the childish way, when he goes into the forest. I love that about him.
The little girls next door are selling flowers and when a man in a red van responds to their calls by stopping, I slow down and note his license plate number, just in case, and one of their mothers comes outside to stand on the porch, pretending to have business there. I feel sorry for men and I feel sorry for mothers and for children and all of us, living in a world where a man can’t simply stop to buy a flower from a little girl.
Yesterday was my last day of work at my school, after 13 years, which was more odd than sad. I will miss sitting in my rocking chair reading Bark, George; How Squirrel Got his Stripes; Pete, Smartypants at School; The Lorax; The Viper; The Greatest Power; Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.
My hardest moment came when Robbie came to say goodbye. See you next year! he said and I lied. See you! I’ve had him since Head Start. Mother gone and father in jail. He learned to read sitting on the floor with me, sounding out words. Hi, Fly Guy; A Friend for Dragon; Nate the Great. The thing is: we are not irreplaceable. Someone else will have these feelings and do these things. That is both the good part and the sad part of it.
>Yolanda forgot to return her library books, so she couldn’t check out the one on polar bears. “I’m sorry,” I called after her. Her friend, turned to me. “Don’t worry. In a minute she’ll start thinking of something else and then she’ll be happy again.”
Someone objected to my statement that I have been fired, when really I’m only being moved out of my school and into a different one. Okay, fine. I am overly dramatic.
I am sad about leaving the school where I’ve worked for 13 years. Today ten year old Pabla gave me an agate and a note that said, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and then she skipped away with her long black braid flying out behind her. I remember when her big sister was a baby. I knew her family before she was born. Her big brother loved my dinosaur books.