So, when last I left you the Mayhews and the Harbins were all planning on saddling up for Asheville. Not so much. We wake up Saturday morning and Bunny has lost her dog sitter. She is not going. She is heartbroken because this means that I will get 100 percent grandma time with Sydney. So it is Granddaddy, Mark, Noah and me. I give Granddaddy the front passenger seat because he is far taller than I. I sit in the back with Noah. In a tiny space. A tiny, tiny space.
We pack up and head out of town. Almost. First we have to eat breakfast. We go to Burger King, which is my all-time least-favorite place for breakfast. I hate Burger King. But I am a good soldier. We order some processed stuff that actually tastes pretty good because it includes Cheese Whiz. A homeless man is asleep a couple of tables over. No one seems to mind. That’s good. He has already consumed his Cheese Whiz because there is an empty wrapper on his table. He’s asleep in a warm place with a full stomach. Life, for him, is good.
Off we go. Slowly. There has been a rock slide on I-40, which is now closed. We must take the back roads. Into the hollers. Up and down, round and round. I am getting dizzy in my tiny, tiny space. Family, family, family. I remind myself as I sip my flat Diet Coke from my leaking Styrofoam cup.
Here she is. Sydney. We are at the Doubletree Hotel communing with a plastic cow representing the Biltmore Dairy. Moo. That is what a cow does, Sydney says. Moo. I moo, too. The girl loves that cow. I am momentarily struck by the fact that I am wearing overalls. She might think I am a farmer. That’s fine. Moo.
We are at supper at T.G.I. Fridays. I thought I hated T.G.I. Fridays but it is attached to the hotel and is easy with a 16-month-old. There are thousands of chicken fragments on the floor beneath Sydney’s high chair. I say I thought I hated this restaurant because it is a garish chain with cookie-cutter food. But I order a medium flat iron steak and it is actually good. I will have to re-evaluate. Sydney and I are playing patty cake. I would eat sawdust and be happy.
Is there anything sweeter than a baby at bath time? On childhood magic I once flew, but those wings now belong to you. That’s from a cross-stitch I did for Noah just after he was born. So true, so true. Sydney now has those blessed wings. Water from the bathtub tap is a giant magical waterfall.
And here’s the best part. I am now Catherine, wife of Mark; Mom, mother of Noah; and Nana, grandmother of Sydney. She called me Nana. Okay, Tammy kind of had to prompt her (a lot), but she did it. I am Nana.
When we left this morning, Sydney blew me a kiss and said, “Bye, bye, Nana.” I cried. In a good way.