Saturday, January 24, 2009

Of Mimis and Nannies

I guess my baby having a baby might have something to do with it. Even though, this new baby won't be my first rodeo. I've been doing this "grandmother thing" for almost eight years. No, he won't be the first baby, but he will be the first born after they died. "They" being my two grandmothers (aka Mimi and Nannie).
I seem to be missing those two "old girls" more intensely as of late. Nannie's been gone almost two years and Mimi passed away just three months after her. These ladies were two of the closest, dearest people in my life. Not to mention, they were the most influential. There's so much of them I want to make sure I carry on, so much of them that I want to be for my own grandchildren.
For Nannie, I was the fifth grandchild out of 15. For Mimi, I was the first grandchild of 10. While they did have some things in common, besides five grandchildren (double-first cousins) and living on the same hill, they were also very different. Mimi let me believe the world revolved around me and Nannie, a pure realist, made sure I kept both feet on the ground. As a fellow realist, I'm closer to Nannie on that one. They both took me to church as a child and were there when I walked the aisle at ten. They instilled their faith and values in me. Both of these girls were loyal to family and friends and that was ingrained in me. Mimi was quiet, but Nannie never met a stranger. All of you that know me can figure out which one I take after. Both of them had a sense of humor. Mimi's nursing home nurses even said she always made them laugh. Hers was a quiet humor. The kind that just slipped out unconsciously, but with perfect timing. My Nan had a drier, wicked sense of humor and a twinkle in her eye when she was "being bad." The day after her husband's funeral, my Poppa, we took her out to check on his grave. She looked down at the strip of grass between "her side" of the grave and the headstone next to it, shook her head in disgust, looked up at me with a big grin, and said, "I'm gonna have to lose weight to fit in there." I shot right back, "That's okay, we'll just drop you in sideways." I thought she was going to drop and roll laughing right there in the cemetery. My momma says I have NO sense of humor, but I think the gene skipped HER and she just doesn't "get it." lol She'll kill me for this when she gets a computer, Internet, and learns to navigate. Hmmm.... might be a while. :) Back to Mimi and Nannie: Mimi would drop everything to spend time with me. I remember taking her off into her guest room so I could have a captive audience to read my first "Sally, Dick and Jane" to. She acted as if she'd never heard it before, even though my Uncle Sammy is only seven years older than I am. My favorite times with my grandchildren are story times. When grandkids got to cutting up at her house Mimi would wave a fly swatter in our direction, but I don't remember her actually using it. My Nannie was the strict one with plenty of spanking spoons handy and a switch tree in her yard. (I made many trips to that tree, having been told to "go pick me a switch.") Noah testifies better than I can as to which one I take after. He once told his mom he needed to stay with Mimi (this Mimi is me) while she made a cake. "Because," he says, "we'll be wild with you and we won't be wild with Mimi." He's got that right! This Mimi doesn't just threaten, she follows through. lol
After writing all of this, I see a lot more of my Nannie in me than I see Mimi. Maybe having my grandchildren call me "Mimi" is my way of evening things out. They were such wonderful role models and are responsible for most of the good in my life. I was so blessed to have them for 42 years, incredibly blessed. The torch has been passed. In a few weeks I'll have a brand new baby... and a million new memories to create. I hope I get it half as right as they did.

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