I’ll be right up front; I’m not a baby person. Watching other women open their arms to enfold a baby not their own, a grandchild, any baby really – is baffling. What instinct do they have that I seem to lack?
Fortunately, for the well-being of my children, my own three infants woke up that instinct in their mother, and I cherish the memory of those years. But with other babies, even my own grandchildren, I’ve felt awkward, perhaps a bit fearful, that somehow I’ll hurt them. Then there’s the look of suspicion I get when the kid realizes this isn’t mom holding him, sensing my reticence.
Those other women, the ones with that instant affinity for babies, get gurgles and smiles when they bounce a little one on their lap while I get howls of indignation.
I’m always grateful to hand them back to their mothers, to be honest, relieved.
To be clear here, I truly love my grandchildren, all seven of them, ages 16 months to 16 years. It’s just that I don’t bond with infants.
So a year ago last March, when the youngest grandchild was six, Nora was born to my third son and his wife. True to my pattern of avoidance I admired her from a distance. Her other grandma was on hand and knew exactly what to do. I watched her sing in Korean to the baby, gently exercising her little limbs, anticipating to the minute when she’d need a diaper change, delivering her back to her mama clean and sweet. She clearly had no trouble bonding with this, her first grandchild.
And it was delightful watching her new parents as they learned the ropes, my son dancing around the room with his tiny daughter just like his father did with him, singing nonsense songs of his own invention, as Nora’s mother fell head over heels in love, surprising even herself I think, at the depth of her feelings. Through it all I longed for Wally, wishing against all reality that he could see this wonderful addition to our family.
MONDAY, July 22
Selectmen meet, 6 p.m., Town Office
TUESDAY, July 23
Needlework group, 4-6 p.m., Library
Lakes and Ponds Committee, 7 p.m., Town Office
WEDNESDAY, July 24
Sailing on a square rigger, 7 p.m., Library
THURSDAY, July 25
Soup Café, Noon-1 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road
Conservation Commission, 4 p.m., Town Office
SATURDAY, July 27
Pitcher Pond Association meeting, 10 a.m., Community Building
Annual Picnic and Benefit Auction, 5-7 p.m., Community Building
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church
Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.
Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated
Schoolhouse Museum open M-W-F, 1-4 p.m.
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road
Blueberry Wing Ding: Aug. 10
But still I held back. By the time she was a year old I was beginning to watch her one morning a week, a morning that always started the same way. Her dad would carry her in from the car, Nora would take one look at me, then look back at him and realization hit: “he’s going to leave me with this person!” And she’d start to cry.
Now intellectually I knew the day would come when I’d be walking her around the garden, pointing out bugs for her to admire, mixing up chocolate chip cookies together in the kitchen, showing her how to use the sewing machine, dissecting a dead bird. I do know how to bond with a little girl or a little boy.
It’s just getting beyond the preverbal infant-in-arms to the walking, talking child. Family stories keep cropping up, especially now that the family storyteller is gone. Wally believed in repetition: “you’ve got to repeat something 10 times for it to stick” he’d tell us. We’d roll our eyes, pitying his poor students who knew most of his tales by heart.
One of his stock stories was about his own mother who had six children. She loved babies, he told us, but as soon as they could walk away from her she lost interest in them. I don’t remember my mother-in-law around babies, but she certainly had no interest in her walking-talking progeny.
So far Nora’s mom, an artist, has managed to work from home, quite a feat now that the baby is a toddler. But the past couple of weeks she’s had to commute to Portland every day. Time for Grandma to help out, all day, not just for a couple of hours.
The first morning she came started in the usual way. The minute her dad handed her to me she started to cry. But I’ve finally learned a few tricks to distract her; “Alexa!” I say forcefully, “Play Stand By Me.” Nora stops crying at the first few notes, and listens raptly, dancing to the music.
It turns out, Nora loves music. She has her favorites: I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, anything by Buddy Holly, and of course, Baby Shark. Don’t know it? I dare you to listen. It’s apparently played on a loop to drive away the homeless camping out where they’re not wanted. Nora and I love it.
The first full day Nora spent with me started out with a household emergency. My aquarium was in distress; the water was cloudy and the fish were at the top gasping for oxygen. I had to empty it out, clean the gravel and plants, scrub the sides and put it all back together. All while watching a 16-month-old.
And then I remembered. Put the kid in the high chair with a bunch of snacks – goldfish (not the ones gasping in the tank), blueberries, juice. Put her where she can watch the action, namely me running back and forth between tank and sink with a flopping fish in the net, siphoning ten gallons of dirty water into buckets, and sopping up spills.
The high chair’s the one Wally and his five siblings sat in, the one our three sat in, and now all seven of our grandchildren have had a turn. It’s a wooden one, painted red, worn away on the arms and tray, but so familiar it actually gave me confidence that morning that I could do it. Take care of this latest addition to our next generation, just the way I always did.
Librarian Elizabeth Eudy sends Library events:
“Knitting and Needlework meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 23. Everyone is welcomed to the group, whatever your skill level. Bring your project and enjoy this fun loving group. The knitters made a beautiful throw to be auctioned Saturday evening at the Picnic Supper and Benefit Auction.
“This Wednesday, July 24 at 7 p.m. Dr. Carl Lindquist will present an illustrated talk on his seven-week sailing trip from Cape Horn to the Cape of Good Hope aboard the square-rigged ship Europa. The crew had no Internet, cell phones, or news from the outside world. Often cold and wet, they encountered icebergs, raging seas, and all kinds of weather. Lindquist is a retired ophthalmologist who has crossed the oceans several times while crewing on square-rigged sailing vessels. He now lives part of the year in Maine.
“The annual Picnic Supper & Benefit Auction will be this Saturday, July 27, 5-7 p.m. at the Community Building (next to the Center Church at 18 Searsmont Road in the Center). The menu has become a tradition: pulled pork, baked beans, rolls, watermelon, summer salads, lemonade and homemade cookies, $10 Adults, $5 Children and free for under 4 and over 90. Over 20 auction items, a 50/50 raffle, and we are raffling a stunningly beautiful tiger maple Shaker chair from Windsor Chairmakers valued at $825. Tickets are $10 each and $25 for three. (The chair may be seen and raffle tickets purchased all week at the library up until the afternoon of the event.) Hope to see you at the picnic!”
Pitcher Pond Association
Diana Sanderson writes: “The Pitcher Pond Association will hold its Annual Meeting/Potluck Brunch at the Lincolnville Community Building on Saturday, July 27, at 10:00 a.m. If you are a Pitcher Pond property owner or have an interest in the preservation and well-being of Pitcher Pond, please join us for a discussion of topics important for the Pond...and great food, too!”
The Big Bang
From a Bulletin Board post: “Lincolnville's own John Burstein stars in a hilarious play called The Big Bang at the Camden Hills High School's Black Box Theater. Plus, Tom Sadowski does the lighting! I saw it tonight and couldn't stop laughing. Support our local theater guys and you won't stop laughing either. It's really funny with amazing props and weird costumes.”
July 21, 26, 27 and Aug 2, 3 at 7 p.m. Tichets are available online https://www.everymanrep.org/box-office
and at Grasshopper Shop, Zoots, and Left Bank Books.
So sad to hear that Wayne Harwood, a young man who grew up in the Center, was killed by a hit and run driver in Portland last week. His memorial was held at the Breezemere Bandstand on Friday.
The LHS’ Schoolhouse Museum, 33 Beach Road, is open three afternoons a week for the season, M-W-F, 1-4 p.m. Stop by and see us!