Monday, January 25, 2010

He Is A Beautiful Boy

It was baby-world for me today. I had Owen for a few hours this morning after the Great Bat Escapade and Lily couldn't wait to show me his new trick. He can sit up. Sort of. He wobbles and leans but he is getting there.

So many muscles it takes to sit up straight! So much that boy has learned and accomplished in four months. And the amazing thing is- we all do this! I did it, you did it, your children do it and yet, even though that's what people do when they are babies, each and every new accomplishment is reason for celebration. As Lily said when Owen got those first two teeth, "I had nothing to do with it but I sure am proud." I had even less to do with it, but I was still proud too.

Owen was in a good mood today. We giggled and played and went to the post office and looked at the chickens and had happy-baby-time when I changed his diaper. Owen loves nothing more than having you right there in his face, chuckling and tickling, running his legs and making him patty-cake by holding his little arms. Actually, his not-so-little arms. The boy is beginning to chunk out. He is STURDY! And so strong. He is four-months old. He is not an infant by any means. He can scoot in his walker and today I had to remove some dried palm fronds because he got to them and began to pull them out of their vase.

And as we all know, life will never be the same.

I am thinking I might have to buy a vacuum cleaner, which hurts my heart. Or perhaps I just need to sweep and mop more. I don't know. No matter what, the black dirt of Lloyd is going to make its way into my grandson's clothes and skin as yet another child crawls across the wide pine boards of these floors. If you put him on his belly, he desperately wants to move. He can get his butt up in the air and he can get his head up in the air, but not both at the same time. He will figure it out soon, though. This is a boy who wants to GO!

I took Owen back to his mama in the early afternoon as she was only working a short day. And I stayed because Billy was going to bring Waylon over for Lily to take care of for a few hours until Shayla got off work. Shayla has recently had to go back to school teaching which, up until Waylon was born, was the main reason that woman got up in the morning. She is THAT teacher. The one who changed your life. She works at school where the population is mostly what we might politically and correctly call something politically correct but which are, in fact, poor kids who may or may not have one parent raising them, and hardly any of them have two. And then when she had Waylon, every bit of that maternal, nurturing heart of hers turned inside out and she became one of those mothers who can't bear to be as far away as the next room from her baby. So going back to work has been devastatingly hard for her but the simple fact of the matter is, they cannot live on Billy's salary alone and so...
Back to work she has gone.
And it is killing her.

So anyway, Billy dropped off Waylon, taking him out of his car seat where he was sleeping to snuggle him before he left to go to his work, because he is one of those daddies who lives and breathes his baby and then Lily and I had such fun with those two boys. I held Waylon and Lily held Owen and Owen was almost desperate to get his hands on Waylon. He looked like a zombie, his little arms stretched out in front of him to touch Waylon, to see what he felt like, to rip his face off. I often feel like Owen wants to rip MY face off the way he grabs and pulls on my mouth, his fingers hooked into it. Oh. It was a fun baby-time with those two boys whom I love. Waylon laughed at me and talked to me and when he got fussy I gave him a bottle of his mama's milk, snuggled down next to me and I felt like I'd been given another gift, his big eyes studying my face while Lily nursed Owen.

When Shayla got to the house after work he was asleep in the swing. "Go ahead," I told her. "Pick him up. He's your baby." And she did, holding him close to her and I almost cried at the way she looked as she held him. Like a mama welcoming her Marine back from Iraq, like a mama holding the child she had missed all day so much that she thought she'd die.

Waylon is fine but I am worried about Shayla. Lily was the same way when she had to go back to work. She knew that her son would be okay in my care, in his daddy's care, but that wasn't the issue. The issue was- would the mama survive?

And so far, Lily has survived just fine. She leaves her boy with me and she knows he's going to be all right. "Have fun with your crazy chicken grandmaw," she says as leaves. And she's okay. And every day I tell her, "Thank-you for trusting your boy with me."
And every day, I mean that.
Every day I see him growing. Fatter, stronger, funnier, and more beautiful. I SEE that. I am her eyes when she is not there. I am her arms when she can not hold him. I am her mother and I love her son in ways that are as mysterious and important as anything on earth.

And I want that for Shayla, too. That peace which comes from knowing that her son is being loved and seen for who and what he is while she is earning a living. While she is tending to other children with her great, giant, loving heart.

All babies deserve this. Your babies, my babies, their babies.

To be held and loved and comforted and encouraged and laughed at and talked to and nurtured. And I am so grateful to be a part of Owen's life and be that for him. And for Waylon's, too, when I can.

"Do you know how much I love you?" I tell my boy when I change his diaper. And then he pees on me and I laugh and when I wash his diapers I am in complete and utter disbelief that yes, again, I am washing baby pee-pee diapers. My hands and fingers know how to put those diapers on like you wouldn't believe. Diaper-changing is a dance my hands know how to do. I imagine that on my dying bed, you could hand me a baby and my old, arthritic hands would know how to fold and wrap the diaper around that baby and would know how to tickle his tummy and make him laugh.

And I would laugh too. And I hope that Lily and Shayla know how much joy their babies bring me. How every time their babies smile at me, my heart beats with contentment.

Crazy chicken grandma.

I can't think of anything I'd rather be.

I can't think of anything else I was meant to be. Watching the wheels go round and round, as John Lennon said when his son was a baby. I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and I hold out my arms and grab a baby, pull him towards me, feel joy that I never knew I'd feel again.

Thank-you, Lily. Thank-you, Shayla. You loving mamas who have given this old mama something to do with her dancing hands. Babies to love with her beating heart.



  1. Gorgeous kid! And gets even more so with every new picture.

  2. Oh gosh, I wasn't expecting to get so heart achey reading this one. I thought, of the cute babies. But I didn't think it would hook me, get to me, well mostly because I'm not a mother or even an aunt or even the best friend of a mother. But you have me all teary eyed. This is beautiful. I love your hands knowing how to do the diaper dance. I love the little moment when S came to get W and you told her go ahead pick him up and the way you watched and felt and described her holding him. I love every sentence in this, how much you love Owen and Lily. The magic of being a mother AND a grandmother. It all just makes me sigh a big sigh.
    Beautiful stuff. Life.
    A life I don't think I will ever live.
    But magical to hear about.

  3. PS The Zombie Owen part was hilarious too, and the way he pulls at your face. I remember that from babysitting days.

  4. Dear Ms. Moon,
    His face is solemn and gorgeous. And don't forget this: Lily is unspeakably lucky to have you and Mr. Moon to not only offer reliable and loving care, but passionate adoration, thrilled absorption in the tasks...a generation-removed version of what you both gave your own babies when they were small. Rodney and I had our babies without either of our mothers, and both our fathers Distant. We were so envious of people who raised babies with the evident love and help of their own parents. Love, love, love.

  5. Anytime you wanna love a 4 year old, please, come on over and get him!! heheh!

    I'm happy for you and the bebes. I'm sure they had a ruckus baby time.

  6. dancing hands, beating heart,
    and I thank you for these words.
    wise and wonderful

  7. Oh good lord that baby is frickin' cute!!! I just love him so much it makes me tremble. I'm so sorry about Shayla, I need to call her. I can't imagine how hard it must be.
    Owen IS like a Zombie when he wants to get something! You should've seen him at Cabo's when he wanted the menu. I said, "What are you going to do with it when you get it?" He wanted to eat its brain. He is FOCUSED, that boy.

  8. You got my eyes watering on this one.

    I swear all of these babies (including Heather & Mike's Annabel) are going to drive me to procreate!

  9. Beautiful, all. Makes the heart ache for babies, and I'm so glad to be so loved up from all of 'mine' this weekend. Faces buried in my neck, my arms tucked up under them -no better feeling of just...purpose. You know? Well yes -you know.

  10. This was/is a good one: I didn't want it to end. It is such a joy to be Grandmaw! and you articulate this to the word. Yes, lucky babies, lucky mamas, lucky lucky lucy. More than luck, you all have created such a beautiful web of love, and I am grateful for your sharing.

  11. PS: How'd it go with that enormous bat?

  12. How I wish my babies had a crazy chicken grandma like you...

  13. Ah, so sweet. And yes, he is so gorgeous. 4-6 months was my favourite. There's no one else you'd rather converse with in the whole wide world.

  14. Baby love from so many angles =o))) Makes me impatient for my own first GrandBaby to be born. Thanks for the gift of your writing. x0 N2

  15. That boy has the most mesmerizing eyes! I just love looking at them. I love the "crazy chicken Grandma" name too. My granddaughter and I had a girl day last Saturday and she has starting calling me ga-ga because she can't say Granny yet. My daughter changed it to Granny ga-ga, so that's my name right now (to her at least). My grandson just calls me Granny.

  16. That first picture is stunning. He is so beautiful.

  17. Wow, what a precious baby. :) He looks like he enjoys having his picture taken!

  18. It seems like a year since he was born.

  19. He's only four months old! Wow, he's doing really well. My daughter sat up at about that same age but her brother didn't sit up until about EIGHT MONTHS old. He's been late on everything, but he's moving along. At his own pace.

  20. Your post today was simply lovely...your daughter has the best mama and yes the best Crazy Chicken Grandma! Love that!!! Your sweet little Owen is adorable and thank your sharing his photos for us mama's without Grandkids. Makes my heart ache to hold a little one again...the whole post pulled my heart strings. I can tell how much you are loving the times you share with your family...I know I was lucky and still am to have been able to be here for all of my kids while they were at home. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to leave them. Though my mother-in-law is the one like you who would have done as well as I...oh yes she is a dream Grandma though she is frail and unable to do what she would like.....

  21. You make me grateful all over again for being able to stay at home for another while. I should remember that more and curse less when I have another mess to deal with.

  22. Yes, yes, yes. You are giving gifts to so many generations, all at the same time. This makes me happy, just feeling the love pulse off the screen into my heart.

  23. Lovely post. Lovely heart.

    And, as love appears to be our theme, I love you, my dear Ms. Moon.


  24. Angie- Well. I think so.

    Bethany- I'm glad I can share my life with you.

    Angela- I didn't have much help from my side but Mr. Moon's parents were wonderful. Until they died. Which is still an unspeakable sorrow.

    Petit Fleur- It was big fun!

    Deb- Thank-YOU!

    May- Yes! He needs BRAINS!!! To EAT!!!

    Jill- It could happen! Then you can blame me.

    SJ- I do know.

    Lisa- Yep. Those eyes are going to slay one day.

    Swallowtail- I believe that one disappeared but I think I have another in a small, not very cold refrigerator. I am not opening it until Mr. Moon takes care of that problem.

    Michelle- Oh. If you lived closer...

    Jo- Exactly! They are so serious.

    N2- Just you wait. You won't believe it.

    Lois- I was thinking that Owen could call me gee-gee-ga-ga because no doubt he will be saying THAT soon.

    Melissa- Come see him soon! He misses you!

    Nicol- But I can hardly ever catch his smiles.

    DTG- I know!

    Rebecca- Boys can be lazy.

    Ellen- Yep. I am SO glad I could stay home with my babies.

    Mwa- It ain't easy, girl. And being a grandmother, I always get a good night's sleep.
    I feel like I'm cheating- I get all the fun and none of the sleep deprivation.

    Nancy C- Awwww...

  25. Ms Moon, I look at that picture of Owen trying to sit up and I think ," What the heck is Owen doing on my kitchen counter?" I got the same stuff, even the NYer magazine. Too Funny!

  26. You are just a the BEST grandma!! :)


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.