“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.

Grand New Parents

The problem of Time is not philosophical. Last week, on my 67th birthday, our adoption of our granddaughter Joanna Leigh became final when the Probate Judge agreed to sign the required forms. Now we’re both grandparents parenting and parenting grandparents. We also became Joanna Leigh’s parents. Admittedly, it’s a bit weird. Why do this, when some of the issues and problems are unsettling at best?

We had to make a decision whether to have a new birth certificate issued to reflect this change. My first instinct was no, not to go this far. My husband and I have no intentions of disavowing that our daughter is Joanna Leigh’s mother. Plus, Joanna Leigh knows her “mommy” and that her name is Mary; she talks about her, wants to see her, and is probably grieving over the loss in her latest disappearing act -- going to jail.

The other night, we were talking about Santa Claus. Yes, I’ve pulled out the Santa card this early. So sue me.

She said to me, “I want a car for Christmas, a pink car. I want to go get mommy.” She had seen a Barbie car or some kind, in a store or flyer.

This is extremely hard. I’ll know more about how to deal with this when we see the child psychiatrist. I need a better strategy than to just burst into tears.

But we opted for a new birth certificate: First, this will ensure that our daughter not ever be able to reclaim parental custody; second, Joanna Leigh will have to present her birth certificate many times in the coming years, for everything from proving inoculations to signing up for a soccer team to getting her driver’s license; having an accurate certificate seems prudent.

I will keep a copy of the original birth certificate so that Joanna Leigh will know when the time comes that we were not trying to hide anything.

Time Reductio ad Absurdum

One major reason governed our adopting her, despite the unsettling feelings and hard facts. Our age. The legal adoption will help guarantee Joanna Leigh’s future. She is now eligible to receive Social Security benefits until she is 19.

In 13 years, I will have made it to the life expectancy of a white woman in America. This is the hardest fact of all, and it hangs over my head like a noose.

The years leading up to life expectancy, or NOT, also hang over me. Luckily, I come from good genes of long-lived people, but I sure haven’t done everything right. All of which bring me to the next subject:

I am going to create the Friends of Joanna Leigh Advisory Board. This is going to take thinking and work. So it’s my next project.

I’m soliciting ideas.


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