24. What is your favorite thing and least favorite thing about parenthood?
When I sat down to answer this question, my first thought was, “This could go on for far too many pages.” However, after a little reflection, this may be the shortest answer from the series. My responses are very clear and heartfelt, and there is no need to go on for thousands of words to say what needs to be said.
1. My favorite thing about parenthood is that I get to know you. Even if I weren’t your mother, I would feel blessed to know each of you girls. You have unique, beautifully crafted spirits, and it is an honor to be allowed to be your mother.
2. My least favorite thing about parenthood is disappointing you. I am not the fairytale-perfect mother for which you might’ve wished. I make mistakes. I don’t always make the right decisions where you are concerned or choose perfect paths for our Life. I’m doing the best I can and continuously hope and pray that I’ve done enough.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
There are so many amazingly perfect choices to this answer. I could choose to have cheesecake with Amelia Earhart or amaretto-flavored bread pudding with Princess Diana. It would be quite entertaining to enjoy salmon croquettes with William Faulkner or fresh peas and apple dumplings with Langston Hughes. Doughnuts complemented by a dark French roast coffee with FDR or a steaming bowl of New England fish chowder with JFK would be excellent choices as well. I have always been intrigued by the enigma that was James Dean. If I got the chance to share a meal with him, I would find a real-life “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” diner and order something from the inevitably greasy-spoon menu.
But I can only pick one person from history, so I will choose to have homemade biscuits and fried deer meat with my Granddaddy. I only know him from pictures. I hear he was a tall man who loved my Grandma and thought I was pretty special. My mom (your Nana) still talks about him with a great deal of respect, and I would like to know the man who can still inspire that level of appreciation and love more than three decades after his death. I want to know what your Nana was like as a little girl, what made him fall in love with Grandma and what he thought when your Nana and Papa got married four weeks after they met.
I would like a chance to get to know him, even if I only had one meal’s worth of time to do so. My memories of him are fuzzy at best, and they are basically tied to a single time when he and Grandma came to visit when we lived in West Monroe. My only mental image from that day was of him sitting silently in a chair in our kitchen. I am told that memory isn’t very representative of the person he was, and I would like the chance to change that.
I would talk to him about your Daddy and about the wonderfulness that is you three girls. I would ask him what he thinks about the world today. I would bring your Uncle Jake along so they could meet. I would sit and listen to this man talk about what it was like to grow up in a different era, what he thought about as he was lying ill in his bed for so long, whether he knows what type of people Uncle Jake, our cousins Michael and Daniel and I grew up to be and what it was like to see Grandma on their 50th wedding anniversary.
I’m not sure I would eat at all. He could enjoy his meal. I just want to listen.