Doug and I have been at Disneyland for the past two days with my sister Dawn, her kids, her mom, and her cousin. Yes, this is where the familial relationships get a little confusing, because although I’ve referred to Dawn as my sister for my entire life, we’re not blood-related at all. We grew up as next door neighbors, each of us with only brothers, and sort of adopted each other into our families. Dawn calls my mom her “American mommy,” and I call Dawn’s mom, a tiny Korean firecracker with a thick accent and an astounding ability to catch flies in her bare hands, “Mama June.”
At one point yesterday afternoon, our group was split into all different directions: the boys were on Indiana Jones, Dawn was buying some mouse ears, and I was standing guard at the stroller. Mama June saw me bouncing my six-month-old, twenty-pound niece on my hip, and promptly came over and took the baby from me.
“You too small to hold baby,” she said, poking the part of my arm where a bicep should be. “Not have enough energy, she heavy, I hold her.”
The baby flashed her award-winning grin at me and started waving her arms. Mama June translated: “Auntie! When you make one, so I can have friend?”
I must have shied away a little at this, because then Mama June went somber, told me she knew what had happened to me, and gave me a hug. “It okay, though, you keep trying.”
“Maybe not yet.” I smiled. “Maybe we’ll get married first.” (At this point, we have to get married first, or the whole last two years will have been a waste. If I was going to turn around and get pregnant again, with no visible change in situation, then I might as well have done that right after my miscarriage and saved myself all the bitterness and misery.)
“Your mama must be so sad,” Mama June continued.
I thought about trying to explain that, if anything, my mom is sad only because I’m sad. When I told my mom I was pregnant, her first reaction was a sort of pointed, “Oh… And why weren’t we doing something to prevent that?” followed a few days later by her second reaction of, “I want to be happy and excited…” Something about the timing and circumstances of my pregnancy had not sat right with my mother. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t married. Or that I’d only been with Doug for a few months. Or that I’d just gotten divorced a few months before that. Or that we were broke and living in Seattle. Whatever her reason, she was probably right, and since then, she’s been nothing but loving and supportive of my broken heart and my sticking-it-out-with-Mirena plan.
But I didn’t tell all this to Mama June. I simply told her, “Oh, she’s okay. It happened a few years ago; I think my mom’s okay now.”
“No, she sad,” Mama June insisted. “I know mama. All mama wanna be gramma.”
And I think, if my mom wasn’t on vacation three time zones away, in a little beach cottage with spotty cell phone reception, I probably would have called her right then and there to ask if this was true.