The baby, G., said her first word. UP. She’s said it several times, unprompted, while doing her funny one armed reach for…indeed, up.
I do like being a maternal grandmother. I feel like an instant authority on the ancestors. Who flushed the dirt out of the baby’s eye, quickly and without fuss? Me. Who is raising her right? Well, actually her parents, but I have my supporting role.
At thirteen months, she does remind me of her mother, my daughter Isabel. My mom used to call Iz the “on-time baby–referencing the On Time Ferry off Martha’s Vineyard (it just ran back and forth to the island of Chappy without a schedule. Hence, always on time.) Iz’s first words were “bye” and “kitty.” She’s always been big on saying adios and just going off when she needs to. As a child she loved the wind, and was a bit like it–coming and going. With G. I thought maybe “dog” would be it. I was not so secretly hoping for “mama” as maternal homage everywhere. But when she babbles and chats, everything is “dadada,” so I guess her father will have a label pretty soon.
When G. was born, I was in the room. Actually, not quite. I told my husband Rich, after several hours of labor–let’s just step out in the hall for a second. I was getting overwhelmed. Suddenly, it was silent. I got worried, stepped back in, and there was a baby, yowling away! I stood by Isabel and gushed, very inappropriately, “A girl, that’s so great for THE PROJECT.” Iz said something like “oh please just shut up.” “WHAT PROJECT?” the attending nurse demanded, looking at me as if I was a vivisectionist. “Oh, you know, the project…” I murmured, as if it was a commonplace.
The “project”of course is Maternal Mitochondria, the ongoing collaboration between me and Isabel.
Here is our latest. It’s a section from the deconstructed book that is part of the sculptural “Tiamat.” This is six altered photographs, now set into two paper screens. (I wasn’t expecting this, but the screens were left over from Tiny House construction.)