Dear friends: I’m sharing a poem today. Perhaps you know the feeling, when you’re surrounded by friends sharing pictures of their children or grandchildren and you don’t have much to contribute. To the women with whom I shared this meal, I had a good time, really. I love you both, your grandkids are adorable, and I hope to do it again soon. Just . . . well, it’s a little different for those of us who don’t have kids.
At Georgie’s on Sunday after church,
my friends, both grandmothers,
shared photos on their phones
while I ate my eggs Benedict,
nodding and cooing words of praise
for little Raegan and Jaxon
and Jackson with a K and Dylan
and Damon and Madison.
“They’re getting big so fast.”
“He’s such a handsome boy.”
But I couldn’t quite melt the way
real women who’ve had babies do,
that catch in the voice, that
“Isn’t she precious? Oh my Gosh.
Look at those itty bitty hands”
as they remember another baby’s fingers
touching their breasts as they nursed
or squeezing their daddy’s giant thumb.
My eggs were cooked just right,
not too runny, the hollandaise
creamy around the ham, so thick
I scooped it up with my fork.
I was tempted to lick the plate.
Out the west-facing windows,
the winter ocean thrashed,
all white froth and gray
one shade darker than the sky.
A grandma flipping through her phone:
“Did you see my grandson’s fiancée?”
“No,” said the other. “Oh, she’s beautiful.
Would you look at that gorgeous ring.”
My plate was empty now, but they
had barely touched their food,
feasting instead on grandmother pride.
I sucked the ice left in my glass.
When our waitress brought our separate checks,
they finally put their phones away
to eat blueberry pancakes and sausages.
“So Sue, how’s your dad?” a grandma asked.
“Doing really well at 95.”
And that was all I had to say.
My phone is full of dogs and trees.
I could have shared my baby niece
if my phone weren’t sitting in the car,
but I have to admit it’s not the same,
this stranger who lives so far away,
whose pictures I save from Facebook posts,
but you have to offer what you’ve got
when you’re sharing a booth in Grandma Land.
6 thoughts on “Sunday brunch with the grandmas”
I still feel every bit a “real woman” even if I never had a child. I hate the sentiment and idea that we are not actually a woman (in sex or gender) if we never procreated.
You are correct, we should feel like “real women” still. I wish I did, but I don’t. I feel genderless. Some would see that as a good, even great thing.
I agree. Although rationally I know it’s absurd to think someone isn’t a woman because they didn’t have children, I do sometimes feel that I’m not only not a real woman but not a real human being. What’s strange though, is that I don’t ever think that about other people who are childless, only myself.
Hi Sue, yes, that resonates with me. I often find it sad that some mothers can only discuss their children and/or grandchildren as if they themselves have no identity. I was just showing my dog pictures to another nomo recently. Although she and I have never discussed childlessness, and I had no idea what was going through her mind as I showed the pictures, it was refreshing because I didn’t feel judged or pitied. Had she had children, I would not have shown my dog pictures. And I suspect that my lunch with her would have ended far sooner.
But I have to ask you Sue, are you going to continue to subject yourself to the clueless banter? Or are you going to only go occasionally? Or are you going to make alternative plans and avoid those brunches altogether?
I’ve been there too. A true first I hated it. Then I realized that I still have time to have my own little family. And I plan to. Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s days are coming. National Chopped Liver days for those of us who are childless.
I’m so sorry, j. But don’t hide your feelings from your husband. You’re in this together and need to support each other.