Won Over

My mother has taken an interest in the little bird. I asked her some questions about baptism—after all, she went through the ritual four times (not counting the once in her infancy), so I figured she’d be able to help me out. She was completely delighted to do so, and more than that, I think that planning for the baptism helped her to think of the little bird as someone who’ll be sticking around and doing family things; she talked about a gown my grandmother knitted and in which I was baptized (along with both of my sisters and at least one cousin), and I think she’s going to dig it out for the kiddo. She wanted to know who we want for godparents (and was pleased to find that she’d guessed right), and overall really surprised me. I had called wanted to know: How old does a baby have to be? Can it work out if the godparents can’t be present? Do they just wear white, or is there some other requirement? I got a lot more.

Of course, she has since emailed me to warn me that the gown is tacky and acrylic (which I sort of expected, knowing my grandmother).

We also talked about what they’d like to be called by grandkids; I knew going in that my mom hates “Grandma,” although I’m still not sure why. I had guessed (correctly, it turns out) that my dad would want to be “Granddad” after his own grandfather, a man who died when I was a preschooler and about whom fond stories are still told. My mom wants to be Oma, after her Tanta Sophie—my great great aunt. She also talked about why she thinks people look forward so much to being grandparents: They don’t get to appreciate the kids fully the first time around, because they are too busy and tired.

I know my mom well enough to know that this may have been an isolated good day rather than a lasting change in perspective, but it was still good to see; shoot, if she cares about the kid only when she’s around him, that would be better than Mr. Book’s mom will manage, I guarantee it.