anxiety, grandparenthood, mindfulness, parenting, Uncategorized

Holding On


It’s been too long, I know – most of you have understandably moved on to more reliable (and probably far better) musings.  What can I say that you haven’t read before?  Transitions are not seamless for me – that’s an understatement.  Cognitively I recognize that every beginning requires a transition to something else, movement is far preferable to stasis, new adventures are uplifting – yada yada yada…Internally, I ache for breath, tiptoe around my life until I get my bearings and slip through the day as unobtrusively as possible.  For all of the bravado, I stand before you – a wimp.

I have found it impossible to write, for I find the current climate so negative, toxic, skewed to the vitriolic that I can’t find my voice in this cacophony.  I don’t want to contribute to the noise; if anything I would like to turn the volume way down.  Waaaaaaaay down.   How about if we whisper for a while?  We might listen to each other more attentively.

Which brings me to my quiet, sacred moment of grace.  I have the gift of watching one of my granddaughters once a week.  I don’t write about the babies often – suffice it to say, I am every besotted grandmother who finds her grandchildren magical, perfect, amazing; every mom who marvels at her sons as adoring, devoted, gentle dads who are awed by their own children.  It’s hard to write this stuff without hyperbole

Bu that’s just the segue – sorry if I went on too long.

Sophie will soon be eleven months.  We get a kick out of each other, we really do.  We make each other laugh, hold each other tight, she places her head in the crook of my neck and I place my nose to the crook of hers and I tickle her.  She’s starting to walk and toddles with determination – stout of heart, if not necessarily equally strong of leg.  Up and down the stairs, slapping each step with little hands that grab and clap and point and propel her up, up, up.  When she laughs at the Sirs, her nose wrinkles.  Between cruising the house and the neighborhood, reading (of sorts), engaging the dogs, and her ‘learning’ toys – we’re pretty busy.  And when it’s time to nap, there’s no negotiation – she can fall asleep in her high chair.

She wakes a little disoriented and as I lift her up, she places her head on my shoulder.  Within a moment she has found her spot, falling back to sleep and I lie down on the couch.  I place one hand on her head, the other rises and falls with her breath.  I try to count her eyelashes, trace the little pucker of her mouth as it drops open.  I feel the pads of her fingers, softer than cotton.  And in her breath, I find the breaths that I find so elusive these days.  In this moment, we breathe together.  Perhaps she can feel my heart,  as I let mine adapt to the rhythm of hers.  There is a reverence to this kind of quiet.  This is what we’re here for.  And if we’re fortunate souls, we dial it down so that we can feel it.

She wakes and we look at each other – my eyes wide and grateful, hers dreamy and a little unfocused.  And then she sees it’s me and smiles, rubbing her face against my shirt and receiving kisses from the Sirs who are ready for her to chase them once again.  Our little respite is done, the awe lingers.

Soon, Sophie will start day care, for it will be time for her to hang out with her peeps and engage with the world.  We will still have our time, our moments.  These little girls and the generosity of their parents have given me my breath, in these times when it can be so hard to breathe.  And they offer the greatest grace of all – to love, to love, to love.





55 thoughts on “Holding On”

  1. The length of time you’ve been silent has zero bearing on the quality of your writing. What a gift you are. I hope the beautiful Sophie reads your words one day so she may know, and always remember, the life changing force that is love. Perhaps too, glean through her grandmother’s breathtaking writing, enough to champion change, in her lifetime, what we have been sadly unable to change in ours…peace and goodwill.

  2. Yes you are a besotted grandmother but I don’t think I ever read such a beautifully written essay. I agree with one commenter that you must put it in a box for her to read when she is older. Many of us (maybe all) are cringing in the noise going on and seeking refuge wherever we can find it.

  3. I has been (way) too long Mimi. Your words sweep one away – stylistically like Roland Barthes – “Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.” One can feel your feelings as the eyes pan the lines. And the photo finish, Wow. Full stop.

    1. Hi DK..I have no words for such high praise, besides thank you – which seems so trite. I’m going to try and be a bit more focused on this neglected little site of mine. And I’m grateful that you’re still here hangin’ with me.

  4. Oh, telepathy! Mimi, I’ve been thinking of you especially this morning and first thought I imagined the note in my inbox. Hello, friend. Thank you for writing, for Sophie and for all of us. This piece is absolutely exquisite. Pure and lovely – ‘cantus firmus’, enduring melody, perfectly tuned and humming. The photo, too, is a gift to us all. Sophie will come to know some day that though there were times when you didn’t write every day there was always a great throng out there waiting for the next time – and, proud as can be of her wonderful grandmother, she’ll walk happy and tall. Thank you. Thank you. With much love and encouragement from us all xx

    1. Simon my friend…how are you? Would that I could write with your constancy and ease, your loving touch that rests upon all that you see. I have been over-exposed to hostile communication, anger, self-righteous indignation – and that’s only our over-attenuated election process! Mix in a little anxiety that comes with trying to find my rhythm in this new state, with Andy and I commuting back and forth to see each other until our house is built, and it’s been a bit intimidating. And all of that said, my preference is not to focus on any of that, it seems self-indulgent and whiney. So I will try and exercise the muscles that arguably we all could flex as you do – the ones that inspire, that warm, that make us wonder, that yield to love – ironically it is those that make us stronger. Love to you and Jilly..xx

  5. Hi Mimi

    I agree with David. I also totally relate to what you are experiencing as my little Katerina just turned 11 months old. Our times together are magical and I savor every moment. Our family has also just been blessed with the arrival of twin baby girls from my oldest son and his wife. Three little sweet angels in one year! Life is good. I hope we hear more from you soon. Blessings to you family.


    1. Hi Tina, congratulations! What wonderful news! I know you delight in them all. Thank you for your kind words. Hope to be posting more often..

  6. I’m delighted to hear from you, dear Mimi. It’s wonderful to see you and Sophie enjoying each other so much. After four amazing grandsons My Beloved and I will soon be blessed with a granddaughter. We’re thrilled! Your posts are good medicine for me, and for the world.

    1. Well, as one who raised three boys, I can say that having these little girls in our life is equally magical and wondrous in its own right…Congratulations Russ – that’s fantastic news!

  7. I *thought* I heard the Karma Truck revving its engine the other day…so glad that I wasn’t mistaken! Absolutely delighted, as I am sure are 2,892 others… 😉

    Seriously, honey, your voice is such a breath of love and grace and SANITY in these tumultuous times — a touchstone and important reminder as to what is *really* important…love, nurturing, taking the time the be aware of those around you, allowing them their humanity, something that seems to be sorely lacking these days. Like you, I have been dispirited by the vituperative favor of the dialogue (and I use that word loosely) of late. THANK YOU for such a poignant reminder that without taking the time to love, and to savor those precious connections, we have little. Enjoy every minute with those precious babies and please do print this missive out for Mlle. S. I know it will warm her heart one day as it has warmed ours… All there is…

    Xoxox, l

    1. Well sweetie, you know that the LAST thing I feel during these poisonous times is sane. I feel like there is this awful cocktail of blame, hostility, anger and self-interest peppered with veiled threats instead of tabasco. It’s nauseating and evokes cold sweats. So I run to silence, I escape to love wherever it is welcomed and offered. And that there are such spaces – few, yes – but cherished beyond measure – that’s my salvation. That is what gives me hope. love you..xoxo,m

  8. There will always be toxic feelings of anger, blame and pain in the world, but when we focus on love and precious moments of innocence and warmth like yours Mimi, we balance the pendulum again and walk ahead with confidence, knowing there is still this truth within us all. Beautifully expressed. Thankyou to you and Sophie. 💗🌻

  9. So good to hear from you Mimi. These are times we can’t find words for. I too worry for my sons and their families. I’m hopeful we all make the right decision for their future. Take care my friend. Bill

    1. Hi Bill, I hope all is well with you! It really is a time where words can’t be found, and my head shakes in disbelief and disappointment and worry. May our better angels prevail…

  10. This nanna understands how one can adore their grandchild, I adore all of mine, I don’t see my granddaughters as often as I see my grandson Leo and until recently my grandson Blain but I do like seeing them and spending time with them they light up my life

  11. Nothing like a child to remind us of what is good and right in this world….lucky you. And lucky us for getting an escape from the madness by reading your post. Thank you for the diversion.

  12. the frequency does not matter. while i miss your presence online, it is your perspective that i find in your writing that i always welcome back. what a love letter to your family, please keep this and show them as a part of your legacy.

  13. I treasure this photo…my friend at peace. I’m grateful you have found a peaceful anchor in Sophie. I’ve missed the truck, but it is so worth waiting for! I’m proud of you for the navigating you’re doing in your new world…the waves will soon calm and all be still, but I will still miss you.

    1. Ah Carrie, I miss you too! The new house will have a room waiting for your visit…even if it’s just a detour and quick stop. We’ll find some sushi and hunker down for a bit…

  14. beautifully written. time to catch our breath and realize the important things in life not the surrounding chaos. Mimi, yours is a voice I love to read–keep sharing with us–we all need to read about love, love, love…..

    1. I’ve just gotten back to reading your posts – and I’ve missed you! There are certain people who provide thoughts that are so grounding, so honest that you feel that these are your friends. You are my friend. Thank you so much.

  15. What a beautiful share! I have my little ones as well. Two girls. The older one is soon finishing her first semester as a 1st grader (where did these 6 years go?) and the little one is two. They are both magical – in very different ways. And I so treasure the thought to be with them again over the holidays.

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