I tried to learn to play bridge when I was in college. I was a terrible player. There would be no bridge club in my future. When I was a young mother, I did join a garden club and envisioned social time with lovely ladies. Then I discovered they actually expected me to grow things. Me...with my brown thumb. It was a short-lived membership. Over the years I was asked to join a few other clubs but for this reason or that, it never worked out. I decided I just wasn't a club kind of person.
But today Baby Sister and I went to the car wash. Now, when you go to the car wash at 10:30 on a weekday morning, nearly everyone there could belong to AARP. I lugged my "baby in a bucket" into the building to wait for our car to pass through all the brushes and cleaners. Just inside the door a tiny boy was holding his grandpa's hand, watching the soapy cars go by. He spied Baby Sister and broke into a huge smile. He patted the car seat as I passed and kept repeating, "I have one of these." I thought he meant he had a car seat but his grandpa explained he has a new baby sister at home. And I got to hear about their new baby from the proud grandfather. "Three months old and growing like a weed."
We moved on down the line to pay and then found a spot near the front door to wait for our car. A nice man asked, "Does she have red hair? I have two granddaughters with red hair." And we chatted about his girls. The next gray-haired gentleman asked how old Baby Sister is and remarked, "She's kind of little, isn't she? My granddaughter is a runt. But, boy...is she ever a powerhouse!" We talked about his grandchildren. Baby Sister enjoyed the attention, flashing her big grin at all of these granddaddys.
Next a lady came up to peek in the baby bucket. And the smiles stopped. This sweet lady said, "Isn't that the way it always is? The mamas and the grandmamas do all the work and it's the daddys and the papas that always get the smiles. That's just how girls are made." Just then a man waved a towel to signal that our car was ready. I said goodbye to our new grandmother friend and Baby Sister even gave her a tiny hint of a smile as we left.
This trip should have been a chore but I'd had fun at the car wash. And then it hit me. After all these years, I finally belong. I belong to the Grandparents Club.