Great-Grandma’s watch

Great-Grandma’s watch is working again.

It hasn’t worked in a long time. Mom had it repaired for me before she gave it to me for my 16th birthday, but it quit working a few months later, and the jeweler said it was pretty much a lost cause, because the gears were so old they’d gotten stripped out.

But I got it out tonight and set it and wound it up and ignored it for half an hour, and when I peeked at it again, I discovered that it’s working.

I knew it would be.

See, Great-Grandma received the watch as a gift for her 16th birthday. Her boyfriend gave it to her. She didn’t keep the boyfriend, but she kept the watch, and later, after she’d grown up and gotten married, Great-Grandpa used the watch to time her contractions when she had Grandpa.

Grandma had borrowed the watch for some reason right before Mom was born, and Grandpa ended up using it to time Grandma’s contractions.

Great-Grandma gave Mom the watch for her 16th birthday. Mom kept it, and when I was born, Daddy used it to time Mom’s contractions.

Mom gave it to me for my 16th birthday, but I wasn’t planning on having kids, so the watch said, “Well, I guess my work here is done,” and it quit working.

But it started working again tonight.

I knew it would, because my little brother is going to need to borrow it sometime around late December. He’s going to need to use it to time his wife’s contractions.

I went to a lecture this morning that my church sponsored. The topic was aging. It was a good lecture. The speaker gave a lot of advice on how to not feel old. I took a lot of notes.

Too bad I didn’t have my notes in front of me an hour and a half later, when Oliver called to inform me that Ashley is pregnant.

I am, of course, utterly thrilled by this bit of news.

I am also feeling OLD.

Very, very old.

There are certain things I think of when I think of my little brother.

Watching my little sister’s reaction to Mom’s pregnancy, for instance. Grace was not quite 2 when Oliver was born. When Mom was about umpteen months pregnant, Grace would stand on tiptoe to peek up under her shirt, wave at her belly, and say, “Hi, baby!”

Watching Oliver blow out the candle on his first birthday cake. I still remember the cake and one of the toys he got for his birthday.

Listening to him stick up for me when he was about 3. Some boys in my class liked to pick on me, and Oliver wasn’t having any of it: “You just tell those boys they’d better not mess with you, ‘cos you’ve got a little brother at home who knows how to kick butt.”

Watching him tear around like a maniac, grabbing any vaguely swordlike object — ruler, pen, stick, fork, paper-towel tube, whatever — and raising it above his head while shouting, “Thundercats … HO!” like his favorite cartoon character when he was about 4.

Making fun of him when he was in grade school because he had to be taken to the doctor to have a piece of an ink pen extracted from his nose after he stuck it up there as part of a weird little impromptu comedy routine.

Oliver is good at weird little impromptu comedy routines. He has a knack for entertaining little kids with his weird little impromptu comedy routines. That’s because he has never really stopped being a weird little boy with weird little impromptu comedy routines.

I took him out to Tucumcari one weekend about three years ago, and he spent the entire trip entertaining me with his weird little impromptu comedy routines. I laughed so hard, I thought my sides would never stop hurting. I hold him personally responsible for the lines around my mouth and eyes. To this day, I cannot walk into Clanton’s Cafe in Vinita without thinking of one of Oliver’s weird little impromptu comedy routines and laughing so hard that my face hurts.

Oliver is going to be an awesome daddy. He will make his kid laugh at all the right moments and embarrass his kid at all the right moments and keep me laughing with stories about funny stuff his kid did in between.

He will tell me funny stories about his funny kid, and I will laugh and laugh and laugh, and the lines around my mouth and eyes will get deeper and deeper, and I will look old before my time, and I will feel old, thinking of Oliver as a baby and listening to him tell me stories about his baby, and I won’t care, because people will look at me and say, “See the laugh lines in that old lady’s face? She must be blessed. She must have a hilarious life.”

And they will be right. I am blessed. I have a hilarious little brother and a hilarious little sister and a hilarious niece or nephew on the way, and I laugh all the time, and the laughter is making me look old, and I don’t care, because old means more years full of more memories of more laughs, and more lines around my mouth and eyes to help me remember them all.


2 thoughts on “Great-Grandma’s watch”

  1. Now listen here, Ancient Aunt Emily……you don’t know the meaning of old. (You are younger than my daughter. That was never supposed to happen. Nobody was ever supposed to be younger than the tiny mound of baby in that tiny bassinet, 32 years ago.) It’s all in how you look at it. It’s very exciting that Oliver and Ashley are expecting, and I’m thrilled and wish them well. But you must say to yourself, “Wow, how lucky I am to be so young when my niece/nephew is born, because I will be young enough to inhabit the same basic era that he/she inhabits. We will know the same things. We will laugh at the same things. He/she will never have the chance to call me Crazy Old Aunt Emily.” ….. Well, maybe sometimes……

    Then next time we get together, please remind me to bring my magnifying glass so I can see your old age lines. Sheeesh!!!


    PS — Neutrogena Night goop works wonders……

  2. Emily,

    It seems like just yersterday they were on their honeymoon. I remember talking via phone with them one night, they were staying in a motel along the road.

    Please tell them I said hello and congratulations.

    You will make an awesome Auntie.

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