Years ago, when I was little, Mom used to read to me from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. When she’d get to the part that says, “Some are sad, and some are glad, And some are very, very bad. Why are they sad and glad and bad? I do not know, go ask your dad,” I would matter-of-factly address the book and tell it, “I don’t have a dad.”
Which was true; I didn’t.
I had a Memaw instead.
My father was never in the picture, but I always felt like I had two parents, anyway. My “nuclear” family consisted of my mother and my grandmother until I was well into elementary school. After a while, my aunt came to live with us, and later my cousin was born, but I always felt that Memaw was my second parent. One of them would sing me to sleep every night, and one of them was almost always there with me to see me off to school and to welcome me home — I can count on one hand (or maybe even one finger) the number of non-family sitters I ever had.
Memaw was my second parent up until my Mom got married when I was 12. We continued to visit her on a regular basis, though, through both of my Mom’s marriages and through me going off to college.
She passed away in 2003, as a result of lung cancer. She was too ill to make the two-hour trip from Lakewood to Bowling Green to attend my wedding, and she died one week later as Aaron and I drove past Cleveland while returning from our New England honeymoon.
Memaw was creative and bizarre in her own unique way, and I hope I can fabricate a proper lullaby for her great-grandbaby like she would have.
Happy Father’s Day, Memaw. I love you.
P.S. I know this probably made you cry, Mom. Sorry about that. 🙂