I’m a grandmother now, the proud matriarch, the beaming mama who now understands the enormity of future generations, little ones who share my blood. I try my hardest to not be the nauseating nana, to not be gooey or sappy, to not bore people with adorable photos and snippets of life with baby. But, oh my, do babies suckle at your heart. They attach perfectly shaped lips to your thumper and you look down on them and are mesmerized by their innocence, their purity, their miraculous entry into life, their trust in you as provider and nurturer.* Babies are the antidote to the contemptuousness that poisons us all. I look at them and think that close to everything they come to know will begin with this circle called family. It’s a big deal, an enormous yet delicate responsibility, a thought that is sometimes overlooked when in the throws of parenting, but one that the grandparent with less responsibility and more time can ponder. But more time can also generate more worry, and I think, “what the hell kind of world will this innocent little soul inherit?”
And why Key West, what possible connection? Obvious, really; I worry about my island paradise as I worry about babies. This remote rock of misfits and drunks, contrarians and cross-dressers faces perhaps an even more ominous future than that of our children. Since my move to Florida the state has been shaken to its core by Hurricanes Irma and Michael, and the latest environmental report says we’re up shit’s creek, if creeks can indeed survive the geographic apocalypse. Will this island still be standing in 20 years? No one knows. I do know that my house was worth a lot more 2 years ago and I may never see that number again but I’m okay with that—truly. I bought a lifestyle that fits me like a tee. I just want this place to be here long enough to see the grandkids sitting at my kitchen counter for lunch, damnit—and for a while, I won’t give a shit about the rest of the world.
* I have often wondered if men’s authoritarian anger towards women, their diminishing of the female stems from jealousy over the fact that they cannot give birth—no matter how bullish or rich or famous or whatever—they cannot perform, although they will certainly try to manipulate, the most profound act of life. Womb envy, click here.