“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

Looking Like Yourself

I recall an incident in the eye doctor’s office decades ago, when I first couldn’t read the listings in the phone book. I was trying to read a magazine, unaware of others in the waiting room. Then a little old lady, probably 65, came in and recognized another little old lady, probably 65. They embraced and talked about how long it had been. One lived out in the country and the other in a rural community up the road toward Columbus, Mississippi, just over the state line.

They gossiped a bit. Then the first said to the second, “Well, you won’t believe who I ran into the other day. Mattie Lou.”

“Oh, I haven’t thought about her in so many years. How is she?”

“Well, you just wouldn’t believe it. She looks like herself!”

I buried my face behind a magazine to keep from laughing. I know I DO NOT look like myself, but I was really cute when it counted. JCravey-65_0001

I sure feel like myself, though, a 65-year old grandmother with custody of a toddler whom I have to keep in my eyesight at all times. There are days when it’s scary, like when I think those two women in the doctor’s office are likely deceased, and when I realized that in 10 years, I’ll be 75 and Joanna Leigh will be 12. I’ll be doing well to see her get her driver’s license.

Looking like myself in 1965

Who ?

I have got to remember who I am.

My husband of 40 years and I have become hyper-aware of taking the extra precautions to stay well: Click the seat belts on. Don’t fall. Don’t need any surgery. Take prescribed medications. Get sleep. Don’t pick up any more germs your granddaughter brings home from playschool than you have to. Do this, do that, and don’t don’t don’t.

The other day my husband said, “I’ll tell you this: I’m not having any heart surgery.”

I said, “Yes, you will if it’s necessary. We have a two-year-old to raise.”

playhouse-1

Playhouse Raising

We had built one of those tree-playhouse, gym-swing-slide, combo-condos in our back yard for her. The platform was a deck that the dog houses sat on for the rare times the dogs were actually in their pen. HA.

playhouse-6 The platform is now the floor to the first-floor enclosed playhouse, complete with windows on three sides and a front door. The second floor is the “tree house” complete with a tin roof and railing. Although it isn’t technically a tree house, we live on a wooded lot up on a ridge. The backyard slopes downward, so it feels like you are up in the trees.

 

Joanna Leigh watched with great interest as the construction progressed. Each late afternoon after playschool, we went out there to see what had taken shape. At first she was more interested in the blocks of wood created by the sawing and cutting of the framing, rails, and whatever else you make houses with. She picked out all the reasonably sized blocks to stack. Then she would pick them all up and transfer then to another part of the platform. Then stack. Then move. Then look for more.

treehouse-1 

Best Friends

It shouldn’t be hard to remember who I am; my closest friends, with names like Aches and Pains, are always there to remind me. When it’s time to go in and Joanna Leigh doesn’t want to, I have to pick her up crying and squirming to get down. Worse than kicking, she puts her arms straight up above her head and goes slack. She could easily just slide out of my hands and arms. It’s not easy. I’ve become creative about luring her into the house for supper.

On the day the stairs to the second floor “tree house” were built, I thought,” Uh oh. No railing yet, not on the stairway around the top floor. Eee gads.” Could I keep her on the first floor with the blocks? Nope. So, up we went. This is when I remembered who I am.

Admittedly, it was fun at the top, when I wasn’t scared to death to let go of her. She wanted no part of being held onto, so I knew we had to get down as soon as possible. How to coax her was the problem.

1-sitting-treehouse

So, I didn’t coax. I just picked her up kicking and screaming. Down we went. It felt like forever getting down those rail-less steps. I suddenly remembered who I am and how I’d better be careful -- before the fact.

Wear your seat belt. Don’t fall. Walk every day. Eat right. And on it goes – for a while, anyway.2-treehousePhotos by Alice Wilson, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. See her copyrighted work: http://www.alicewilsonphotography.com/

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