It’s funny about umbilical cords. They were supposedly cut at birth and they don’t extend to grandchildren. Then how come I’m still connected in some ancient mammalian way to generations of my family even though they live 3000 miles away?
It must be a weird inherited thing. My mom had it too. She lived on the East Coast. I lived on the West. She checked my weather every day—did it rain on her child or was she having a nice sunny day? Ditto for my horoscope. Did Aries have to be careful with co-workers today? Was I going into danger with my love life?
Her connections with me were mostly through her newspapers, a paper umbilical cord. My umbilical cord is electronic. This last week I was mostly emailing family about Irene, The Late Great Storm.
Have you gotten out of New York City? Have you heard from Brian?
And I was a doofus over-50 texter, sending messages with arthritic thumbs: how clse r u 2 river? Sure, I used a cell phone too: just seeing if you are stocked up, just seeing if a tree came down, just seeing….
Maybe I’ll top it off tonight a quick Skype to view the faces that came through the heavy rains without sailing down a creek in an SUV.
Whatever form the cord takes—paper, cloud-lifted emails, clumsy-thumbed text—it’s the ancient umbilical connection to family. How are they? The eternal question.
And, no matter how old I get, even if I make it to 100, I’ll be checking the weather–each of their cities is already bookmarked on my weather site and on my iPhone. And maybe I’ll honor my mom’s tradition and check their horoscopes. (I don’t believe in them, but always believed in mom.) Will my kids and grandkids have a good day? Should they take on a new venture? Stay away from Scorpios?
So, you tell me: Am I a helicopter grandmother, hovering above family when the stereotype says I should be out playing bingo at the senior center? (Not on your life. Bingo tiles equal brain death. )
My guess is that I’m just like many out-of-work mothers, decommissioned by our children’s independence and rightly so. As I see it, I cut the apron strings years ago, but never the cord.
Mothers may age, but motherhood is eternal.