I’ve told y’all before how my grandmother saved me. She pulled me from the belly of the whale and brought me into light and love. Well, today I’m here to tell you that Parker and Tate’s grandmother has saved me, too. I’m starting to think that when a woman becomes a grandmother, some sort of transformative power – some mysterious, ministering pearl — gets planted into the center of her soul and settles, multiplies. And waits.
From the instant that the boys were pulled from my ginormous belly, my mother Rosalee, (hereafter, GiGi), has been a Godsend — an absolute blessing in grandmotherly garb. (Well, not really. She hardly owns anything grandmotherly. She is quite fond of leopard prints, fast cars, and shoe sales.) But she is a Godsend. That much is true.
The one thing that all twin parents told us from the get go – and that we, as twin parents, tell all new twin parents we know – is that you can never have enough help. (Remember my favorite proverb, one is one and two is ten?) And my mom, without fail, has always been willing to lend a hand with our proverbial ten. She has driven one hour, one way, every single week for the last two-and-a-half years. (Math’s not my strong suit, but that translates to a helluva lot of travel time, people.) In the beginning, during the insane sixteen months of scant sleep and even scanter sanity, she arrived at our doorstep twice a week, often bringing food and always staying overnight. I recall a couple of critical nights when she and my sweet Bestie came and took the night shift so that Mike and I could get a little shut-eye. Now that the boys are a little more self-reliant (and finally sound sleepers), she’s weaned it down to once a week — though she always still stays the night. And the boys and I adore her for it. Especially during football season. She brings calm and conversation and highly capable assistance to our lonely nights without Daddy. Her sacrifices do not go unnoticed.
So let me tell you a little about our GiGi. She has a blonde bob that she sweeps to the side, a speedy, sleek convertible for country roads, and — at last count — eleven themed Christmas trees. She’s quite the eclectic personality. She hails from the backwoods south of cotton and coal mines, loves Broadway musicals, and interior design. She drinks sprite mimosas (who needs champagne?) and can move massive furniture single-handed up flights of staircases where most men would require assistance. It is from GiGi that I get my cooking skills, my temperament (easy-going, most days) and my fight (we can smolder, unchecked, for days until something sparks us and then we can burn down a whole forest). And if I’m tossing around tree metaphors here, then she’s bound to be a bonsai – well-coiffed and quite compact. That’s one thing I don’t get from my mama…
The boys ADORE their GiGi. She makes their toast with honey, she gives great snuggles and second helpings, and, in keeping with Parker’s obsession over motorized vehicles, she has gadgets and gizmos aplenty. She’s got go karts and golf carts galore. You want automobiles? She’s got twenty (no, not really, but she does have a few in her stable). She’s our pint-sized GiGi in leopard print and convertible ride.
Sadly, during football season, we don’t make it to her place often. The only day we have with Daddy is Saturday, so we tend to stick close to home and him. But that doesn’t stop GiGi from coming to us. This week she arrived for Trick or Treating – and we absolutely couldn’t have done it without her. And that’s no lie – that’s not even an exaggeration. Daddy had football, and Mommy had a strict moral code. You simply do not go door to door and collect candy if you don’t also hand out candy at your own front door. It’s a weird little ethical idiosyncrasy of mine. There are too many takers in this world, and a definite shortage of givers. So, as for me and mine, we will do our best to balance out the universe, one snack-size Snickers at a time.
So GiGi gave out candy, while the boys and I traipsed our street… eventually. But first we had to get the boys to wear their costumes — and we had a slight problem. Parker was supposed to be a firetruck, and Tate was supposed to be an Itsy Bitsy Spider (handpicked by them, mind you, from the Pottery Barn catalogue). But apparently it’s not just communism that only works on paper. Add costumes to that list. Tate had a meltdown – a full-blown, chubby-cheeked, toddler Chernobyl. He wanted to wear the firetruck, too.
Now I blame myself. I really should’ve known better. Truly. No matter what we do, Mike and I always, always, always buy two of the same thing, which doesn’t stop the boys from fighting, mind you, but this time, just this once, I thought it would be different.
But that was simply stupid of me because I also should’ve known that when it comes to any sort of “different” duds the boys don’t adjust well — Tate in particular. He has a hint of his father’s OCD in him.
For instance, during Cartersville’s Homecoming week about a month ago, the boys’ day care mapped out a fun-filled week of spirit days. Monday brought us silly sock day – so seemingly fun and harmless, yes?
“That’s a negative, ghost rider. The pattern [was too] full.”
Because, apparently in my obsessively compulsive Tate Bug’s mind, funky, mismatched, divergently-patterned socks is just way too excessive for his sensibilities. There was absolutely no way he was wearing one olive green dinosaur sock and one bright orange monster sock. Not with a sweet plaid button up and khaki shorts, thank you very much. It took chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and a subtle sleight of feet to get them on unnoticed. Then came Hat Day, not nearly as psychologically damaging as silly socks, but again, not well received. And then came total anarchy with Pajama Day. It nearly did us all in – and not for the reason you’re thinking. This time, they both EMBRACED the concept. Like totally and completely. Because Minion PJs should be worn to school each and every day. Forever and Ever. Amen.
So our recent track record with strange and unusual attire has not been stellar. And to be perfectly honest, this time I don’t think it was that Tate necessarily wanted to wear the firetruck so much as he didn’t want to slip the spider’s large, dark, fuzzy cephalothorax over his head. I think he’s a wee bit claustrophobic. Convinced that fear was the problem, GiGi and I tried getting Tate to step into his costume… and it was still a no-go.
But then I got to thinking – the boys probably didn’t understand what Halloween really involves — the seemingly endless supply of sweets, as well as the sweet freedom of walking smack down the center of the street. I mean, when does a toddler ever get that privilege? Therefore, GiGi and I, along with the ready and willing assistance of brother Parker, modeled some serious Trick or Treating skills, complete with ringing of doorbell and distribution of suckers. It took no time at all before Tate was fully ensconced in spider finery and ready for the open road — which in all honestly, probably held greater sway than the candy treats in the whole scenario…
So that makes TWO ways the boys and I couldn’t have done Halloween without GiGi. She distributed candy to the masses – and I mean MASSES of little ghouls and goblins– AND she helped us navigate the treacherous landscape of weird wardrobe angst.
My little costumed adventurers only trekked to eight neighbor’s houses before we set our sights toward home. The houses are far apart on our street, and the boys had plodded purposefully to each one with confidence, only to find themselves speechless and shy at the doorway. I had managed to coax a fist-muffled “Trick or Treat” out of both boys every time, but still, eight was plenty. As we made our way through the hordes, Parker and Tate spied GiGi distributing treats amidst a crowd of kiddos in costume. They instantly picked up speed, their plastic pumpkins practically careening off felted kneecaps and showering the street with treats.
“I found you, GiGi! I found you, GiGi!” — as if she were a long lost treasure, and they alone understood her import. But that is not true.
I, too, understand her import. I truly, truly do.For she is far more precious than pearls. And boy does she have them — pearls of wisdom and truth and love and hope and energy and time and joy and peace… they pour out of her. She has shared those pearls with us so very generously and so very faithfully for the past two-and-a-half years. GiGi’s worth simply cannot be measured. And my humble thanks can never be payment enough. But still, I offer them up in this month of Thanksgiving.