Friday, February 24, 2012

Honoring the royalty in our midst

We spotted the princess in the Burger King in The Dalles, sleeping.
Seven to ten admirers surrounded her, waiting impatiently for her to open her eyes.  Finally someone, overcome by her beauty, woke her with a kiss.
Adults and teenagers vied for position as they sought a personal audience with Her Royal Majesty—a good-natured conflict. In the end, everyone got a personal audience.
Each used every stratagem of voice and facial expression to get her attention.  When the wide-eyed beauty ventured a shy smile, they cheered joyously.
She looked about two months old, a tiny beauty captivating this large group of adoring relatives—a couple of grandfather-aged men, a great-grandma, two grandma-aged ladies and assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins. 
There was even a young Prince Charming—a boy baby who was too young to see that the world was revolving around his cousin.  He had likely had his turn in the spotlight about eight months ago.
We didn’t catch the name of the princess or understand their praise because they were speaking Spanish, but this family was under her spell, head-over-heels crazy about her, talking baby talk, coo-chee cooing and laughing.
Travel time was ticking, so the entourage said farewell and left the princess, young Mr. Charming and their mothers at the Burger King. 
Later, on I84, some of them passed us in an SUV with Utah plates, and I thought how empty that full vehicle must seem without Their Royal Majesties.
Something about a baby brings out the joy in us. 
I grew up in a home where loving babies was almost a cult. It was blasphemy to say a newborn was ugly, though people in other families did. My Uncle Henry laughingly told about overhearing his new grandson’s other grandma say, “Ugly little cuss—looks just like Henry!”
Mama loved babies and was loved by them. Even when she was elderly and crippled by arthritis, she welcomed babies into her arms—and they laughed and cooed, or slept peacefully. 
Here are some of her beliefs.
--Dr. Spock had issued his “Let them cry it out” advice when Mama and Daddy started their family.  One day, Daddy’s mother, a somewhat austere woman, picked up the screamer and said, “Babies don’t cry it out in this house.”  And they never did in Mama’s house thereafter.
--“Baby the mother.”  When my babies were due, having Grandma come was half of the excitement. She took care of the cooking, the children, and me—so I could focus on breastfeeding and bonding with the new baby.  She had learned this pattern from her own mother, and it goes back for generations.
--Cuddle babies and sing to them every time that you can. A young mother told me a child’s ability to do math develops between ages one and three—and a key to building math ability is singing.
--Growing up doesn’t end a person’s need for love and respect.  What would the world be like if we responded to our family members as if they were new babies—or royalty—all their lives.  My Mama did.


  1. So well said. I am glad I met your mother.

  2. My mama did, too! So now I'm crying--but the happy way!

  3. So true. I always need reminders to be more like Grammy and my own sweet mama.