The Lily Room

by Trisha


Lilyanne weighs eight pounds and has long brown eyelashes. I watched her come into the world, breathless. Both of us, actually, were not breathing. She was not breathing because her lungs were filled with meconium.  I was not breathing because I was terrified that she never would. After a long, long, slow motion moment, she let out a small infant cry, and I inhaled a  lung full of joy and relief. 

I am so in love with her big brother, Luke, that it seemed impossible to make enough room in my heart to love Lily the way any grandchild deserves to be loved. But yesterday we spent the day together and in between my rocking and feeding and singing to her, and her throwing up on my shoulder before falling asleep in my arms, my heart opened up a new room; The Lilyanne room, a really big room with lots of space for love to grow.

When Lily’s mother was a baby, I was only twenty-three and she was my entire world. Being at home with her was my only job, so anything less than perfection at motherhood would have seemed like failure.  All her baby food was homemade. She wore cloth diapers. I spent hours and hours sewing beautiful French batiste and lace dresses for her to wear.

My Grandmother fantasies were fueled by my experience as a new mother. Sewing tiny, lovely baby clothes, knitting caps and booties and miniature Angora sweaters were part of the vision in my head about the kind of Grandmother I would be. In the fantasy, I’d have all kinds of free time to devote to the grandkids, and they would think of coming to my house and wriggle with delight. The reality is a little different. I’m fifty-four and smack in the middle of trying to make a living, fund a retirement account, pay a mortgage. The big hinkey in the fantasy plan was a divorce fifteen years ago and my having to grow up and learn to take care of myself. I can’t even afford French Batiste fabric anymore. And the laces? Instead of putting a price tag on the rolls of lace at the fabric store they should just write, Outrageous on the end of the bolt. Even if I could afford the materials, when would the sewing happen?

So the Grandmother vision has needed some adjustments. No fancy dresses for Lilyanne. No yards of ruffles and ribbons coming from this Grandma. Homemade applesauce? Yes. A farm with lots of room to run? Yes. But the booties will come from Target.

Someday she will call me Mimi. That’s the name that Luke has created for me.  We’d been teaching him to call me Grammy, and when he mastered the last syllable, he figured that worked pretty well, and Mimi stuck. I can’t wait to hear her say it, to hear “Mimi” come out of her rosey little baby mouth.  Lilyanne and I will dance and spin and march all around that big Lilyanne room in my heart.  We will throw scraps to the chickens and bake sticky chocolate chip cookies and dig in the garden together. We will make a mess and laugh about it.  Fancy dresses are no good for digging anyway.

Garamondle post in the “Family” category.


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