When you’re not quite 40 and you find out that you are going to be a grandmother, so much goes through you, especially if you’re this not-quite-40 lady. I think I cried, sometimes silently, sometimes not, for the better part of two weeks. I threatened my daughter…’you had better decide what you are going to do NOW, girl!’ I sulked. I remember telling the man I love that I’d ‘wanted a puppy’ and ‘not a grandkid’ as we’d all found out right before my birthday.
It took me remembering my own narrative to get a damned grip on myself and the situation. In 1994, I brought my own not-quite-40 mother the dubious (at the time) blessing of her first grandchild, a child who is now repeating the honor. Yes. I feel honored to have another dimension added to my Mothering. And I am overwhelmed with love for the little face I’ve not even seen yet. Here are letters I have drafted to the baby. Her name is Riley.
In a few short months, you will be here.
Mami is getting big with you now. I am proud of her strength. It is not easy to be a mother, especially a young one. I am here for you both.
The women in your family are strong. It’s important that you know it now, so that you will not fear when BiBi’s voice is raised against some wrong. So that you will not despair when you see Mami working and going to school. We love you with the love of the Mothers. It is why we do what we do.
The women of your family will weep into their pillows when no one can see. They will scream their rage and not give a shit who sees. They will cook and feed your body. Their stories will nourish your head and heart.
The women of your family laugh like hell. Our stomachs hurt and we shake our heads and exclaim ‘Aw Lawd!’ at a particularly humorous anecdote.
The women of your family love hard. They have loved foolishly but smile anyhow because they know what love is.
You shall have many families. We have built that network for you. So it shall be. I even think your PawPaw calling you Roscoe is kinda cute now!! Maybe it’s because I love him. Maybe it’s because I know how tough you will have to be to be a member of this family and a citizen of the World, and a girl called Roscoe must surely be tough.
You have much to do, tiny girl. I wonder if you will sing or write? Yes, that is selfish of me but I won’t be here forever and want someone of our blood to recount Who We Were.
Your face intrigues me and I’ve not seen it. That should give you some idea of my anticipation of you coming to us.
I love you with the Love of the Mothers. It is our way. Rest. Grow. Come to us with eyes open. We will teach your heart what comes next.
Always know—You are the women. The women are you, my sweet RileyGirl. We will meet in flesh but I think I know you already. I have always known you.