Posts Tagged ‘Ur-Momma’

page_001aUr-Momma would probably be horrified if she realized how often I go to school on the mistakes she made 35 years ago. I keep remembering things she did that managed to upset me when I was a new mother, and I actively try not to do those things to Nutmeg.

I’m not even sure HOW she managed to upset me so much, and so often. Back when Meta was a newborn, Ur-Momma and I lived 250 miles apart, and we only spoke by phone on Sundays. That’s a far cry from the constant connection that’s possible with Nutmeg. We live just a subway ride away from each other (okay, it’s an hour-long subway ride, but once you’re on the train it hardly matters). And whenever I’m curious about how Peaches is doing I could, theoretically, just send Nutmeg a text or an email and ask for an update.

But I resist. Partly because Nutmeg is herself so good at texting a couple of photos a day of how the baby’s doing, which helps me get my fix. (How is it, I wonder, that a one-week old infant manages to look so child-like in some of those photos? “It’s all about the open eyes,” texts Nutmeg in reply.) Partly because I don’t want to do what Ur-Momma always did — go straight to asking questions about the most worrisome things, the very things that are probably of some concern to Nutmeg and Southpaw already and that they really don’t need to hear about from me.

It’s not exactly the lesson you want to pass along to your daughter, is it? The lesson always to do the opposite of everything you once did? I hope for a better legacy for myself, to be honest. But maybe one way to get that better legacy is to take the Ur-Momma lesson to heart, and to rein myself in whenever I want, more than anything, to just have a good long chat with one of my kids.

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web_schenck-whitney-2014_05_19-dsc_5755_800_800Memorial Day was a study in contrasts for iDaddy and me. We spent the morning at the new Whitney Museum, opened recently in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan right at the southernmost end of the High Line. (Contrary to my expectations, based only on the way the building looked as it was being built, I loved the museum and thought that all the choices they had made, in terms of both architecture and curation of the current exhibit, were just right.) Then we spent the afternoon with Ur-Momma, hanging around with her in her senior-housing studio apartment, having pretty much the same conversation four or five times during the two hours we were there, in predictable rotation.

The conversation veered off into slightly new territory when Ur-Momma started talking about the thing that really bugs her about being 90 years old — that she’s not necessary to anybody anymore.”I don’t have any value,” Ur-Momma said. “Then maybe you should change the definition of ‘value,'” said I. It just comes with the territory, added iDaddy in his kind and gentle way. “We’re a lot younger than you, and we’re not necessary to anybody anymore, either.”

And it’s true, we’re not: our two daughters are fully adults and can get along fine without us, hardly ever check in with us, don’t really give us details about what’s going on in their lives (well, Meta doesn’t, at least). But maybe that’s one thing that a new grandchild will do for us: give iDaddy and me the feeling that we’re kind of necessary again. That’s what drove our actions the day before Memorial Day, anyway, when we spent at least half of it trying to figure out how to get the baby car seat into the back seat of our Toyota. iDaddy’s job — after I’ve done my own assigned job and aided as much as I can during labor and delivery — will be to drive Nutmeg, Southpaw, and the baby home from the hospital. Necessary indeed.

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