Monday, January 16, 2012

Momo: Dec. 20, 2009

I could pretty much write a column every day about all the ways my mom is amazing. I won't, because that would be weird. But I absolutely could.

The magic of Santa Momo

    On the morning the snow fell, I stood bleary-eyed in the kitchen with a cup of coffee in my hand and looked at the phone.

    "Do you think it's too early to call my mom?" I asked my husband. "It's not quite 8 yet."

    The words were barely out of my mouth when the phone started ringing and dog leapt, barking, for the front door. I grabbed the phone and went to see who was outside.

Momo shows her boys how it's done.
    It was my mom, on the phone, and standing in the front yard.

    "What in the world are you doing?" I asked into the phone as I stared, grinning at her through the glass storm door. She was wearing a black stocking cap and a quilted coat she had picked up during one of her Goodwill foraging missions.

    "It's snowing," she said. "I want to play with my boys in the snow. I just called before I knocked on the door because I wasn't sure if you were up."

    In a matter of minutes, the boys were layered into the few scraps of real winter gear we own and were outside with my mom. While I went to get dressed, she began showing her grandsons how to roll and roll and roll a snowball around the yard to make the base of a snowman.

    She lives a mile-and-a-half away but, she explained as she helped the boys push hickory nuts into the snowman's face to make eyes, she had spent 45 minutes making her way to us, detouring all over East Brainerd to avoid wrecks and closed roads.

    "You're insane," I told her.

    "I wanted to play with my boys in the snow," she replied.

    They call her Momo, which is a name my oldest invented when he was a toddler. He's 9 now, and he calls her on the phone pretty much anytime he gets bored. Some Saturdays, when he's at loose ends because I'm cleaning or working or doing any of the other tedious junk moms always do, he'll stroll into the room and say, "Momo said she would come get us and take us somewhere."
Momo and her boys decorate the absolute hell out of some cookies. 

    She takes them to parks, or to eat pizza, or to her house to play in the absurdly stocked toyroom she has in her basement. She is a very in-the-moment kind of grandmother, which is the transcendent beauty of the very best grandmothers.

    As Christmas approaches, my oldest son is starting to get some doubts about Santa. He is asking me, usually during bedtime, whether it's all made up, if maybe Dad and I are putting all those presents under the tree.

    "Santa is more than just one person," I hedged one night. "Santa is the good in all of us -- he's the part of you that wants to show other people love and kindness."

    He was silent for a little while, considering in the dark. Then: "So Santa is like Momo?"

    Absolutely, my boy. Santa is just like that.

A couch full of awesome.

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