There are two kinds of grandparents, someone said, the lonely and the tired. Mom Dot, who turns 90 today, is part of the latter group.
Captain Fun and I married when we were just 20 and 21, and Mom Dot gave me her stamp of approval right from the start. I had had my eye on him for over a year, in fact, and it was at her suggestion that he finally called and asked me out. I owe her for that one.
I remember when we found out we were expecting our first child just a few months after we were married. Still a new bride, I was a little nervous about what everyone would say about us starting a family so soon. We had all gathered at my sister's for Labor Day when the Captain and I announced we had a little announcement. Mom Dot threw two fists into the air like she had just won a boxing match. She has told me many times over the years that the grand kids brought the sunshine back into her life after the death of her husband just two years prior.
In Sims' family tradition, we will gather around the dinner table tonight to say "What We Like About You". Undoubtedly, the list will be long: comfort, affirmation, generosity, energy, and the way she never fails to ask how everybody's day was. And always her sense of humor.
I know of no one else, for instance, who deliberately put the wrong year on their head stone. "I only made myself one year younger," she scolds herself, "I should have taken off five or ten years!" And, according to Mom Dot, being hard of hearing makes life interesting, like when she is talking to one of the grand kids and she confuses the word "kindergarten" for "Pentagon". (Old age is not for sissies, she frequently reminds us.)
"You're a fierce grandmother," I will say when it is my turn. Coaches be warned if you don't give one of the grand kids enough playing time. Mom Dot will be at the game, and she'll be watching. The list goes on: she bought every diaper my first born ever wore, and all these years later, she still buys all the chips, all the gum and all the ice cream. Until recently, she meticulously folded all the laundry--including matching socks for fourteen feet. I have seen her mend everything from wounded knees to wounded hearts with just a word.
Many years ago she began treating the kids to McDonald's every Saturday night so Captain Fun and I could go out to dinner. Marriage maintenance, she calls it. And I love the way she prays. (I should note that this list is not in the order of importance.)
The Captain said she was always the favorite mom in the neighborhood when he was growing up. And when one of the kids complimented him on his vocabulary this week, he reminded them who raised him. Mom Dot would not tell this so I will--She scored on the Mensa level on the IQ test years ago. Even now she can still quote lengthy passages from Shakespeare. It is her standard act, in fact, for the annual Christmas Eve Sims Family Talent Show.
Every year, after everyone finishes, she will have a thing or two to say. "I love all the compliments, but just look, just look at my grand kids," here she will pause and gesture around the table, "I have the most wonderful, best looking grand kids in the world and it is an easy task to love all of you."
If every grandparent was like Mom Dot, there would only be one category of grandparents: the loved.
Thank you, Mom Dot, for loving your ten grandchildren so freely.
The elegant Dorothy Alice (aka Mom Dot) with my father-in-law, Silas Sims.