We talked with her on the phone just now. She is not only 38, she is 8 1/2 months pregnant with our 4th granddaughter "Ellie".
Mimi's real name is Jeremy Johanna. Named for her god-mothers, one of whom, Jeremy, was a Sister of Mercy. I intended to call her JJ but all that changed because for the first 6 months of her life, she was the worst baby in the history of babies! She cried and arched for about 5 of those 6 months and our son, Joshua, would sing to her, "Jere-mimi-mimi-mimi..." trying to calm her. So, she became our 'screaming Mimi' and when, at 6 months, her brain flipped and she became the best baby in the history of babies, she was already and irrevocably, "Mimi".
Ellie will actually be "Elliot" though she and Tim toyed with Elenore for a while.
Mimi has been a golden one--so kind and so understanding and so easy to be with. She and Tim have gone to Oak Island, North Carolina with us for the past 5 or 6 Septembers. Having them around is like being surrounded by grace. We've put off the vacation until after the middle of September this year in case they'll feel up to coming with Ellie. I pray they will. John Anderson and Sherry Ellis go with us and I hope Tim and Mimi will be able to come and say, "here's the baby, she's yours until we leave."
Below is a poem I wrote on her 30th birthday. She was in Japan with the American Ballet Theater and it was the only birthday we didn't either have her with us or talk with her.
Bless her, my baby girl....
PHOTOS OF MIMI
The house is full of pictures of her.
In some of them, she is a tiny, chubby baby.
In others, she is a little girl possessed.
In one she gains speed, running
down a hill in front of my father's house,
her tongue out, her blonde hair flying,
her small arms churning
like the wind.
In another, taken the same day,
she is solemn, not looking at the camera,
considering something out of the frame,
unsmiling, gazing at the future perhaps.
She grows through the pictures—though they are random
on the walls and shelves, so she doesn't grow evenly.
A beautiful, awkward teen, smiling in spite of braces,
her jeans decorated in ink, a hole at the knees,
her shoes half-tied, embarrassed, I think, by the camera.
There is a sagging Jack-O-Lantern at her side,
smiling a smile as crooked as her own.
A whole group pictures when she was finishing
high school—a lovely, wistful, long-haired girl
exploding gracefully into life and what comes next.
I love the photo from her college graduation,
the four of us, this little family, her brother posing,
Mimi—short-hair and sun-glasses—smiling.
Just the four of us, a tiny clan, so different and distinct,
frozen in time on a mountain in Vermont, timeless, eternal.
I walked around the house today, looking for her visage--
bride's maid at Josh's wedding, clowning in a hotel doorway,
holding one niece or another with her boyfriend
(she natural, laughing, Morgan content on her lap,
Tim is a bit anxious and Emma is pulling away from him),
sitting on our back deck at an age I can't remember
when her hair was a color not found in nature,
and she is, as always glancing away from the camera,
playing on the beach as a toddler, sandy, nude,
hands in the sand, staring backward through her legs
(a photo a camera shy person would hate later on!)
I made my circuit, stopping before each photograph,
amazed at the memories that leaped out of the frames
and enthralled me.
Amazed more that such a beautiful child and woman
could have lived with me so long
and left imprints on my heart so deep.
She is half-a-world away.
In a land I can only faintly imagine.
I will not talk with her today—her nativity day.
I cannot even remember, as I gaze at photos,
if it is today or tomorrow in Japan.
Then there is the photo I love most.
It is pinned to the cork board beside my desk,
where I sit and write.
She is framed in a glass doorway. Her hair is long.
I can't remember how old she way—in college, perhaps--
and beyond the door you see, fully lit, dunes of Nantucket.
Mimi is in shadow, almost a silhouette cut from dark paper,
in full profile. Only the back of her hair is in sunlight,
shining, translucent, moving in the wind.
I love that picture because it is Mimi stepping through the
Door of Life, moving away from the infant shots,
the little girl, the teenaged child,
moving into life beyond me...half a world away.
All grown and still, all new....
jgb/July 21, 2008