Rosie was driving her Jeep down the our driveway as I was driving up. She flipped it into reverse and glided smoothly back up toward the garage.
You're a good driver,Rose, I said as I got out of my car.
Mamo, can we make cupcakes? A young woman now, Rosie still specializes in the last-minute invitation.
Well, I have a meeting right now, but we can when I finish. About four o'clock. Or we could do it tomorrow. I'm here all day.
I could go and buy what we need. You know, like, cupcake-ness. Rosie knows I'm a sucker for imaginative grammar. I fished around in my purse for a twenty and gave it to her. For some cupcake-ness.
I have loved their words ever since they began to talk. I didn't own a tape recorder when my own were little, but I wrote down all their interesting constructions. I want to go to not Dot's, Rosie's mother used to say when she was tiny and it was time to go to the babysitter -- an interesting placement of the negative, but perfectly clear. Bodder me!!! her little sister would say sternly, glaring at whoever was getting in her space. My granddaughters had a little trouble keeping alliterative words apart: "Aunt Anna" became "Anta," and "SesameStreet" was "Sesameet." They sang along with the radio: a song whose lyric included the phrase "when the living was young" made a lot more sense to them as "lemon and gum," and they sang it over and over. My grandmother name, which was Rosie's to bestow -- the first grandchild gets to name the grandmother -- was "Mamo." Nineteen years later, I am still "Mamo" to the little girls, who are no longer little girls, and to their friends -- and, often, even to their mother.
We all have these lists in our memories. A grandmother wrote me yesterday: "The Lord be with you," says her priest, and her grandson knows just how to respond: "And I'll sit with you."
Sounds like a good arrangement. The Lord be with you. And I'll sit with you. We will understand each other, you and I, because we will talk to each other, and we will understand each other in a way much more important than getting every detail 100% right and proper. I will treasure you, every bit of you, even your little quirks-- especially your little quirks. And you will remember mine. And we will remember each other long after we are parted.