[Edited to add: And now I just found out Anna Dewdney died, the author of the Llama, Llama children's books. This must be how other people feel when their favorite movie stars overdose, except people who write and illustrate children's books die from things like brain cancer, which feels way more tragic to me. Getting pretty sick of this whole "people dying" thing.]
One of those hometown-many is my mom. Last week was hard, and this week will be, too, as she goes through all the rituals that accompany death, and helps those left behind, as she's close to both the grieving families. So we're going to talk about one of the things that makes my mother happy, which could be quilting or traveling or hand-washing, but will today be her grandchildren.
I could go full-on vain and talk about how amazing the three grandchildren that just so happen to belong to Derek and I are, maybe play a little Carly Simon in the background as inspiration, but instead I simply must show you this picture my mom emailed me a while back, one of herself and her sister Kay.
The back of the photo has a note written by my grandma: "Dresses are gold checked with organdy aprons. Lorri [my mom] was mad because she had to wear her bonnet. I think it's pretty but she doesn't. Have given Kay's hair a feather cut. Sure is easier to take care of."
Now, let's just pass right over the fact that I now feel like a failure for never dressing Adelaide in an organdy apron when I had the chance. I suppose I could still try, but I have a feeling it would end in a storm of tears and shredded fabric. Let us also skip over the serious cuteness of Kay's beaming little face, framed by a new feather cut.
Instead we're going to focus on the my mom, the one year old on the left, who is mad because she had to wear her bonnet, a revelation that I am dying over. Dying because how many times have mothers of girls dressed them in the most darling of clothing- like bonnets- only to have them pout over it in front of the camera. She's like a chubby Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm also dying because when I look at this and other old photos of my mother, I see the face of our niece, sweet Elliot Ann.
The picture is a little fuzzy because I zoomed in on Ellie's face- the one on my mom's lap, there- so you could get the full effect. The resemblance is even more striking in person, when you watch Elliot as she goes about her business, her tall, strong build just like my mom's, who infamously stomped the floor out of the playpen my grandmother cruelly placed her in to get something done or maybe catch her breath fifty-something years ago. It would seem that toddler Lorri had trouble understanding why she was in prison when her two older sisters were not. Her solution? Break it to pieces, of course.
I put that scowling picture up there to mark the resemblance to mom, but I don't want you to think that's all she does, so here are other, smiley-er pictures of her.
Look at how happy she is. Elliot, I mean. And yes, my sister Steph is pregnant again, with girl #3, as is my other sister, Kelli. There's a special place in my heart for three-girl families, and now both my sisters will have an estrogen trio!
And now, because I am one of three girls and know better than to go on and on about one of them while leaving the others out, here are some pics of my mom's other granddaughters, our other nieces.
Kelli's family, minus Kelli. Hang on, let me see if I can find a picture of her.
Well, that's Kelli, all right- around 25 years ago. Here you see she and I dressing a baby Stephanie for the day. Notice Steph is not crying, or reacting much at all. She was used to such loving abuse. I thought it so charming that my parents were thoughtful enough to get me a living, breathing doll when I was 8 1/2. This model had overactive tear ducts as an infant, so I got to wipe her eyelids with a warm, wet washcloth until they were once again able to open many mornings because they were sealed shut from so much gunk. Take that, Baby Alive!
And, of course, we mustn't forget Vada, Elliot's big sister:
That's her at my grandma and grandpa's house over the weekend, following the Adelaide up a tree. We were down south celebrating Grandma's 80th birthday. I now can't wait to become an octogenarian, as when I said, "Grandma, you don't have to do that," she informed me, "I'll do what I want! You get to do that when you're 80!"
Only 47 years until that magical day.