My sisters and I have never had a close relationship with our maternal grandmother, Baba. On the rare occasions we visited Baba and her boo-boo (our grandpeezy Mott), she’d welcome us, chat for five minutes, apologize for having another engagement, and scoot us out. Birthdays and Christmases passed with generic cards and $25 JCPenney gift certificates, graduations and weddings went unattended.
But now, as our visits become more frequent with her advancing age, I’m starting to notice how alike Baba and I are. First, there’s the resemblance. My pointy chin was molded from her sharp little nub; my premature crow’s feet were traced from her deeply carved face folds.
It’s more than just our looks, though. We share interests, too. I like babies, black men, poop, and art. So does Baba.
One day, I want to have children. Not only did Baba already have children, but she hangs out with babies on a regular basis. When she was living in a nursing home, she became friends was a 4-year-old. A pregnant 4-year-old, nonetheless! Apparently the little girl had come in to warn 89-year-old Baba and the other senior ladies about the realities of pregnancy. She and Baba hit it off.
I have jungle fever. As does Baba. She swears that sometime last year, a black man entered her room in the middle of the night, flipped her on her stomach, and “did something to her butt.” I haven’t heard her complain about it.
I don’t necessarily like poop, but it is one of my favorite dinner table talking points (just ask my dad). It’s also Baba’s favorite subject. She records her bowel movements in a journal. The former clean freak-a-leek will also shamelessly tell anyone who questions the black goo under her fingernails that “IT IS POOP!”
Finally, I doodle and sometimes take pictures. Baba can draw, paint, and take great portraits, both behind and in front of the camera. Just last summer she took out the McCormick family album and showed my family and me a beautiful picture of herself when she was younger. She then remembered she had a picture of my aunt, Bidee, dancing. Knowing the only thing Bidee hates more than dancing is having her picture taken, we asked Baba to show us the photo. After a few moments of searching through the album, she finally found it. It looked something like this:
Oh, and this was the picture of infant Baba:
The family album consisted entirely of animal photographs. Clearly, Baba is a little nutso. It’s kind of sad, but she and her pet paper towel roll seem to be having a great time.
P.S. She really is a talented artist, so let’s call her “eccentric” instead of “cray cray.”