Baby Cakes and James

I have two goddaughters. They’re not real goddaughters, in the religious gist; I just call them that. They came from the sister God gave me because my parents didn’t. It makes sense in my world. Anyway, they’re delightful and funny, gifted and engaging. Brave and sensitive. Lovely, and loving. They have jobs out in the world now, because they’re grown.

In the family they have jobs, too. They keep their mom and me presentable. Well, they haven’t done as good a job with me because I don’t see them as often. But, if, let’s say, we had hairs hanging from our noses, or I had gray roots showing, or we couldn’t see our eyebrows well enough to pluck them properly, they’d inform us. They wouldn’t let us walk around embarrassing ourselves, too much. They let us know if a style has changed and we’re looking like refugees from an old TV show (though that’s not likely with their mom). Right now for instance, they would tell me that the color I have on my toes is very good. It’s some kind of brownish color. It would pass their test. They keep me up to speed. For these kinds of nudges into present, I’m grateful. You can’t tell where I'd be  without them.

The younger is 21. Curly headed gorgeous girl. From age one month inclined to glitter, and glamour, and to forgetting things. She still forgets from time to time, but all the time she sparkles, and dazzles with her smile. Sassy. No small amount of trouble when she was a teen. In a hurry to grow up, to get someplace mysterious. When she tried to be born early we should have known. Growing up was her challenge. What saved her was her heart. Huge. Spreads out and scoops up the world with all its possibilities. She’s okay with her hair all messy in the wind. Or sky high heels for a night downtown. She makes it all work. Like it's supposed to be that way.

The older girl is 24. She told me once that when she went to kindergarten she’d wear a beautiful gown. I believed her. When the world moves this way and that, sometimes it bothers her, till she’s used to it. She’s measured and cautious. Studies things. Has her own clock. She didn’t make the same racket growing up that her sister did. She keeps her mischief, like her beauty, on the down low. She sees everything. Tries to take care of her heart, and all of us in it. Elegant with her Pocahontas hair tied in a knot. Seeing her reminds me of cookies baking. Something inside feels right.

I saw my young self in them both as they grew. Some parts I'd put away. Sometimes loving fierce and not so wise, anxious for things to happen. Other times hesitant and watchful, wondering if I could afford the risk. But they’re more graceful and knowing. Steady and present, alert to themselves. Not like me when I was in their decade, still clumsy and slightly unconscious. I was better with cars though. They've had some issues, shall we say.

These two are something. Special just because and special again because of what happened before they were born. I once had a daughter. But her life was short, scarcely could call it a life at all. She had purpose, completed it fast. So when these two babies came their mother shared them with me, as she’s shared most everything. So I could know the feeling of girls, and all they bring to a home, and to a life. And the girls, now women, were kind enough to continue when they were old enough to stop.

I was blessed. That I should lose my girl and meet my friend, who became my sister, and had two girls she shared with me has always seemed fateful, and fortunate. And wonderful. 

Or, was it really all random?


  1. Pam, This is so very beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. I too have a little girl in my life, the daughter of my best friend. Her Dad said to me when she was born that I was welcome to be as much a part of her life as I wished, which meant so very much to me then and now. She is two and your post reminds me how grateful I am to share in her life story and full of excitement about the adventures that lie ahead for us. Nicola.


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