When I pulled this photograph out of the big envelope bursting with memories, and looked at it closely, the first thing I did was text my Mom.
I’d heard the story so many times, but I never had an actual image to put with it.
As the story goes, Mom and I were living in a trailer in Florida with my Memaw and Papaw. Two-year-old me was standing in the yard, barefoot as usual, crying, “Boo-boo! Boo-boo!” Memaw came to see what the problem was, and discovered fire ants climbing up my legs. I was apparently standing on an anthill with fire ants climbing up me and biting me, and I didn’t know what to do but tell someone that I had a boo-boo.
Memaw thought fast — she picked me up and dunked me in the wringer-washer!
That wringer-washer. Right there.
Looking through these pictures, seeing myself at my son’s age, has really made me miss my Memaw in a new and poignant way that I never have before. She really was my second parent for most of my childhood.
It’s hard to articulate exactly how I feel. On one hand, I miss her and I wish I could talk to her again and share with her all the stuff that her great-grandbaby is doing, and ask her if I was like that, and ask how her son was different from her daughters at this age, all those kinds of new-common-ground questions.
On the other hand, it makes me feel very… Zen. Others have felt like this, and others who come after me will feel like this, and it makes me part of the human condition to be recognizing how I fit into this whole big hippy-dippy circle of life, where grandparents and great-grandparents are missed and we share their legacy with our children and hope something sticks.
I sang Memaw’s lullaby for me to Connor last week without losing it — and without changing any words to make it Connor’s song. I told Connor that it’s a song that Grammy and Memaw used to sing to Mommy when she was little.
He seemed to understand.
He asks for it every night now.
I miss you, Memaw.