It wasn't so very long ago, I just figured I would be dead soon enough. It is a poor woman's way of dealing with some overwhelming stress. I was in denial, measurably so. If I knew my life were short, then I couldn't be expected to shape up, toe the line, proof the pudding, and so on. I am lazy, to be sure, but more than that, I was avoiding conflict, pain, reality, and a scoop of life. It proved my best axiom, "Denial can get you through some pretty hard times."
So, problems were dismissed with the excuse that I'd never live long enough to have to deal with them. Really, it took a big load of worry off my shoulders, and it allowed me to fake my way through, smiling and waving.
My daughter is not like me in this respect. She worries at a problem like a dog on a bone. She approaches it from all angles, sleeps with it at night, brings it up in case someone has forgotten. This is her coping mechanism, and I respect it. Everybody needs to cope, somehow.
She has worried her way through graduate school, education bills, finding and marrying a good guy, and having a child. None of this came easily, but that last bit, the birth of my grandson, is an amazing achievement. Proud isn't a big enough word for what I feel about my daughter.
Eshan is three months old now, and he and I are coming to an arrangement. When I am in his vicinity, I hope that I am holding him. I am comfortable holding him against my chest, letting him face out. I feel like I can control his movements -- that big head can go wildly swinging and his neck muscles are still developing in strength to hold it -- and he likes the opportunity to look around, try out some new sounds in his approximation of speech, seek and find some entertainment in the adoring faces around him.
Here are the three of us, Dida (that's me -- Hindi for mother's mother), Mama, and Baby. We are marking tradition, posing in the bluebonnets, as all good Texans are supposed to do. I love that we all squint alike.
When I am not holding him, I am photographing him. He seems to like the camera, he always studies the lens and waits patiently for me to pose him. I am in fear of boring others, but his face, his personality, and his very being are fascinating to me.
I find myself, now, going through a change of heart. No longer do I plan to die and thereby save myself the trouble of getting my act together. No longer do I look with lonely eyes at the years ahead of me. Without warning, I know I want to see him grow and learn and be himself. I want to see the world that he sees. I want to share some part of that world.
I want him to remember me.