“The baby’s sick,” my son-in-law explained to me during the early morning call with a voice as desperate as a new father’s can be. “Neither of us can miss another day of work, and I have an 8 a.m. court case. Please, Madre, can you help?”
Since the birth of my granddaughter, I had changed from “Pam,” to “Madre,” and I was still coping with my new image. But I hopped into my car and joined the commuters in the bumper-to-bumper early morning traffic.
“I am grandmother, hear me roar,” I exclaimed to myself as I walked the five frigid blocks from the car through the narrow city streets to the tiny townhome. My empathy and desire to help was unlimited until I knocked on the locked door three times with no response.
With frozen fingers I pushed buttons on my cell phone and called my daughter, who was already half way to her teaching job.
“Your husband is not answering the doorbell!” I shouted in a sweet grandmotherly voice.
“Oh,” she replied, honking simultaneously at some crazy Boston driver. “He probably fell back asleep. Pound on the door, or try his cell phone.”
“WHAT?” I screamed. She hung up, so I pounded to no avail. Then I blew on my fingers so I could press the cell phone buttons to call him.
My Madre-ness was receding into pure unadulterated bitch. I checked my watch. 7:15. What happened to the important court case?
I hit the doorbell with my now numb digit and didn’t release. Finally, the dog barked, and son-in-law opened the door, bleary-eyed and yawning, wearing beat-up shorts he had obviously just pulled on.
“Oh!” he said.
The baby began to cry from her crib.
“Thank god you’re here!”
I smiled like a saint. I decided I’d just guaranteed no bad mother-in-law jokes from him, ever.
(Note: My son-in-law is on my list of top favorite people. He’s a great husband and a fantastic father of two now. Also, he never reads my blog! :+)