Susan's Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The New Brooklyn Bridge

During February break as a young woman, I used to stay with my grandmas in Florida. They lived in Fort Lauderdale, a mile apart. My sister Laura would join me, and those were some of the best days I’ve ever had.

Laura and I, of course, had nothing to do back then but get tan, laugh, and fight. And exercise. Another important fact: the grandmas — called “Grandma,” and “Mama” (why? because they were both named Esther. So we couldn’t call one Grandma Esther, because that was the other wone, too!) — were both a little competitive with each other.

Grandma was very protective. She held on tight. She poured her love all over me, in buckets. In cake pans. She baked three cakes for me when I’d arrive there. She would sit with me and she would regale me with stories from 20-60 years ago of people who had done her wrong.

Mama on the other hand, spoiled us differently. She would prepare these amazing brunches for us, with every glorious fruit available, with sturgeon and lox and whitefish. White linen napkins. And she would just beam at us and listen. She let Laura and me do whatever we wanted. She let us leave the condo. She let us go for runs without worrying about dangerous men. She let us go swimming without worrying about our drowning. She knew how to let go.

So there were struggles, needless to say. How my heart breaks now to think of how fickle I was, how spoiled. How I just ran off from Grandma’s place to freedom at Mama’s. And I remember Grandma once yelled, “What does she got over there, the Brooklyn Bridge?” as I went running out of the house. This became part of our family lore, needless to say. But I remember it with a twinge of guilt and heartbreak because I wish that Grandma and Mama were still here. I also wished I could have been a nicer granddaughter but I was young and growing up and still learning…

This past weekend was like any other in our house. Nat came home from school, and we were all in and out of the house for the entire weekend, mostly eating together. With me, pouring my love down on Nat in buckets, spoiling him with a huge chocolate peanut butter heart, with a trip to Starbucks, CVS, Stop&Shop;, with buttered bagels, homecooked chili, and Sprite.

But when I dropped him back at The House yesterday, and asked him when he would like to come home next weekend — before lunch or after lunch — he said, “Lunch at [The House.] Lunch at [The House!!!!]!!!!!”

I said, “Nat, you would rather eat lunch at The House than at home?”
and Nat said, “Lunch at The House!!!”

I got into the car, sulking a little bit. Ned said, “Oh, snap!” And today, after I told Max the story, he said, “What do they got over there, the Brooklyn Bridge?”


What a great punch line! 🙂

— added by Donna on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm

what a wondeful post, i see your grandma's on the sliver screen.

— added by kathleen on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I can't help but feel terrible about the food Nat is consuming. Even if you don't believe in a GF/CF diet and biomed giving children on the spectrum (and all children IMO) good, whole foods is so important for their neurological well being. I think any doctor would agree with that. I think it makes you feel better but what is it doing to Nat?

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 8:36 am

I haven't found a GF/CF diet to be beneficial to Nat because it is too limited, and his difficulties were never alleviated by that. Here and at The House he gets plenty of whole foods — raw veggies, salads. Brown rice is a whole grain. They eat lots of chicken (not fried) and ground turkey. He's one of the most versatile eaters I've ever met: loves Indian, Thai, Mexican, Jewish foods — Maybe you're referring to the fact that I give him treats. Nothing wrong with tha. All humans need treats. Man can't live by bread (GF or otherwise) alone.

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

Grandmothers are such a special relationship… And I'm sure both of yours just adored you and everything you two did!

Hey, no post on your NYT Magazine byline?! 🙂

— added by Cathby on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

I posted the link on FB and twitter. I'll get the essay up in a few days — or, I mean, Ned will.

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:11 am

Good remembering! 😉 Lovely post.

— added by Estee Klar on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

Even when they tell us what we don't want to hear we have to respect clear communication.

My father-in-law wants to take us all on a cruise from Boston to Bermuda – as delightful as that sounds, we felt we had better do a dry run. I work for the Port in New Orleans and asked if we could tour one of the Carnival ships when it came to the dock. The boys and I talk about the ship, and look for it when we cross the bridge, and there is general enthusiasm for the ship.

The folks at Carnival couldn't have been nicer, and everything was arranged. When we were getting ready and I explained where we were headed (opted against the pre-trip prep here) Jared very clearly and consisely declared that he would not be going on the ship! No way, no how. I was peeved at first, but we learned directly from Jared what we needed to learn. Jared did not need to run screaming down the passenger walkway to show that cruising was not his bag. He visibly calmed when I assured him that he didn't have to go on the ship, and agreed that he would wave and yell "bon voyage" to his Grandpa and cousins.

We're practising our "bon voyage" waves and we'll do some more rowing next summer. Right now, that's about his speed.

By the way, I firmly believe that treats make the world go round. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

We have been snowed in off and on since the beginning of the month. If we didn't have treats I don't know what we would do!

— added by cameramom on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 11:12 am

🙂 Max makes me smile!

— added by gretchen on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Nat is really, really good at telling you what he wants:) And all of those treats are the best, that's what mom's are supposed to do on special days, it's part of what makes them special and what makes being home even more better. I still love going to my mom's on holidays to see what treats she has around. Just have fun!!

— added by michele on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 8:10 pm

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