I learned so much from my parents, when I became one. Not necessarily in how they raised me, but on how they were with my daughter. Patience, something I am not sure I possessed in any way, became second nature to me, from observing them. Being calm when frustration became a go-to. How were my parents so very patient with me, I wondered, when I cried or when I wet the bed or when I ruined my eyes, reading in the dark, my Pippi Longstocking illuminated by the moonlight? I was yelled at when I didn’t eat all the food on my plate, I was occasionally spanked when I didn’t perform to the best of my ability, but there were other infinitely tedious moments when they exhibited patience, I am certain of it. It was not that though, that I admired; my childhood was fractured, volatile. But my parenthood, as their daughter, became something else, something calmer, something more imbued with support rather than the things of my youth. My daughter so prone to ear infections, in her babyhood and toddlerhood. She was 2 years old, turning three in just two months time, and I was heading out for the night, to a wedding at the Rainbow Room. My parents were staying at my Grove Street apartment, they would be sleeping in my bed, I would sleep on the white leather ell shaped couch I had picked up at the Housing Works. And my daughter had an ear infection. She’d been upset for the days as a result of it, resisting the thing she hated, the ear drops that I needed to administer, day in and day out. I was seized with determination, rather than patience, wanting so desperately for the pain to pass, for her to not be suffering. She sat on my Dad’s lap, he holding her, rubbing her back. She knew she was about to get ear drops, to help her, soothe her pain. Those drops were frightening to her, more so than the enduring pain she coped with, this foreign substance settling on her ear drum, she, at her very young age, distrusted its science. She saw me approach, dropper in hand. Her face scrunched up, turning red even before the tears fell, head shaking as she moaned, “No medicine, Mommy, no medicine.” Her mantra, when it came to ear drops. She, already a veteran of this ritual, had her own go-to, a phrase that to this day, rings in my ears. My Dad started to tickle her, to help her, distract her, anything to stop her from being so upset. “No Saba, no medicine,” she said to him, slowly calming down. “But your Mommy wants you to feel better,” he explained. “No medicine, Saba, no medicine.” He laughed. “You see how I am laughing? Can you do it too, it will make you feel better, and then Mommy can give you your medicine, which will really make you feel better.” My Dad continue to laugh, these large Ho-Ho-Ho’s, and then so did my daughter. After a few moments, he asked her, “Can your Mommy give you your medicine now?” My daughter looked at me, her eyes still so red from working herself up into her frenzy, and she nodded. “Yes, Mommy, okay.” I sat beside my family, and my child crawled into my lap. She pressed her forehead into my chest. “You ready, Ruby?” She shook her head, which meant, fine, whatever, do what you have to do. In the drops went, her shoulders scrunching up, but her head remaining so very still. My brave little girl breaking through. I kissed my child on each cheek, so very gently, praising her for a job well done. My Dad said, as she fell asleep on my beautiful going-to-a-wedding dress, “You did good, Marce.” I smiled, I was exhausted, tears in my own eyes. “No, Dad, you are the one who did good. You calmed this nutjob down.” He laughed, his dorky “hee, hee, hee.” “That is my granddaughter. And she is the daughter of my baby. So, she’s not a nutjob. She’s my little princess.” He leaned over and took my sleeping Ruby off my lap. “Now go to the wedding, and have fun.” That, that was my Dad, as a parent slash grandparent. With infinite patience, infinite wisdom. If only I possessed a fraction of that. If only.
Regina King: “It’s great to be recognized. It’s a nice pat on the back when you’ve been putting in the work. But I also know that the next thing is never promised.”
Taraji P. Henson: “But I never saw myself being done at the age of 40. Liam Neeson is still out here kicking butt, and so is Denzel Washington, and so is Tom Cruise. Why can’t the ladies have a go at it?”
The style of Nancy Pelosi.
And Jenna Jameson.
I’m fascinated by this lip balm from Rodin.
More words on insomnia.
And now have a laugh with Janelle James.