The quiet purr of a Lincoln Towncar was just barely audible above the voice of Louis Armstrong on the stereo as Mrs. Linda Robbins pulled into the driveway of the house belonging to her younger son, Richard, and his wife Amanda and two daughters, Emma and Danielle.
“Looks like Grandma’s here,” Richard said in his medium baritone, looking out the bay window across their front yard. “Danielle, please go help your grandmother inside.”
“Sure thing,” Danielle said, and went off to help her seventy-nine-year-old grandmother with her things.
Richard turned to his eldest daughter. “Emma,” he asked in an even tone, “are you dry?”
“No, Daddy,” Emma said.
“Please go change for me, darling,” he said smiling, “and I’d appreciate it if you would cover up. You know the rules. You need to be wearing more than a t-shirt over your diaper when we have company.”
“It’s only Grandma,” she said, but toddled up to her room to change and cover up like her Daddy asked.
She reached the top of the stairs and made a right towards her bedroom door. Upon opening it she was hit with the mixed fragrance of baby powder and soiled diapers.
“I’d appreciate it,” said her mother’s voice over her shoulder, “if you would empty your diaper pail at some point today, baby girl,”
“Yes, Mommy, I will,” Emma said. “Daddy just sent me up here to change because Grandma just pulled up. Can I empty it after she leaves?”
“That’s fine, darling.”
Emma smiled and shut the door to her room behind her. She went to her dresser and opened the top drawer. From it, she took a thick, white, disposable diaper with Barbie designs on the waistband. She also took out a pink Winnie the Pooh changing pad and her Pampers baby wipes. She carried them to her bed and set them down. Next she spread out the changing mat on top of her comforter and opened the container of baby wipes. Then she sat down on the left side of her bed, making sure her wet diaper was fully on the mat. She swung first her right foot then her left foot over the side of the bed so that she was lying down. She untaped each of the three tapes on each side of her diaper and lifted front up and laid it against the changing pad. She then lifted her behind and slid the back of the diaper out from underneath her. Then she wrapped it into itself and taped it shut, laying it on the floor with her left hand to be tossed into her diaper pail after she’d finished changing.
She lifted a baby wipe out of the container and began cleaning herself vigorously. The babyish scent lingered on her skin as the aloe soothed it. Next she sat up and took the fresh diaper in both hands and opened it up. Lifting her behind again, she slid the diaper into place and laid back down upon it. Then she took the baby powder from her bedside table and sprinkled it generously on her skin before pulling the front of the diaper up between her legs and taping it up.
Once freshly diapered, she set about finding something to cover it up. “It’s only Grandma,” she thought, and picked out her solid pink onesie, the one Grandma had bought her for Christmas this past year. She slipped it over her head, snapped the crotch, and was about to toddle back downstairs when she caught a look at her hair in the mirror.
Taking the hairbrush from the top of her dresser, she waged war on her somewhat wavy auburn hair, pulling into two matching pigtails and securing them with hairties. She then picked up her pink adult-sized pacifier that she’d tied to a white ribbon and hung it around her neck to complete her ensemble.
“Emma!” she heard her mother’s voice call. “Are you almost finished?”
“Coming, Mommy,” Emma called back.
“Oh, isn’t she just adorable?” her grandmother asked as her sixteen going on two year old granddaughter toddled down the stairs. “Look at you!”
Emma toddled over to her grandmother for a big hug.
“How are you doing?” she asked.
“Oh about as well as can be expected for a woman of my age,” Mrs. Robbins said with a smirk, “and how is my baby girl?”
“She’s as much of a handful as she ever was,” Amanda said grinning, “and it looks like we’ll be needing the highchair, after all. Danielle, can you give me a hand with it please?”
“To what do we owe this pleasure, Mother?” Richard asked as he laid a platter of cold cuts on the dining room table.
“Let’s wait until we’re all situated and I’ll let the cat out of the bag. There’s no sense in having to tell it more than once. Put that chair here, please, Amanda. I’d like my granddaughters on either side of me.”
“Sure thing, Mom,” Elizabeth said, guiding the highchair to the left side of the place set for her mother-in-law.
“Thanks, Danielle. You’re always a huge help.”
“No problem,” Danielle said.
“Need any help in there, Dad?”
“If you’d like to grab the mustard and mayonnaise from the fridge, I can grab the rolls and the bread knife and we can sit down to eat.”
“What would everyone like to drink?” Amanda asked. “There’s iced tea, lemonade, apple juice, there might be a coke or two in here.”
“Iced tea for me, please, if it’s not too much trouble,” said Mrs. Robbins.
“No trouble at all, Mom,” Amanda said, pouring out a glass of iced tea and handing it to Danielle to pass.
“Rick? What can I get you?”
“Iced tea for me too, please.”
“Another iced tea, coming right up.”
“I’ll have some lemonade, please.”
One glass of lemonade and one glass of iced tea were set on the table, Rick taking his and Danielle taking hers.
“And that just leaves my baby girl.”
“I’ll have iced tea please, Mommy,” said Emma, cute as a button.
“In a bottle or a sippy cup darling?”
“Sippy cup, please.”
“Now, if everyone will take their seats, we can say grace,” Rick said cheerfully.
Everyone took their places at the table. Emma sat still in her fisher price highchair that she still fit in after all these years while Danielle and Amand helped buckle her in and adjust the tray in place.
“Mom,” Elizabeth said, “would you mind saying grace?”
“Certainly,” Mrs. Robbins said, bowing her head. “Dear Lord, we thank you for the food we are about to eat and that we are able to come together as a family on this day. We ask your blessing on us and on those who could not be with us today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”
“Amen,” chorused the rest of the family.
“Dig in, everyone.” Richard said, “don’t be shy.”
“Now, Mother,” Amanda said as she passed the plate of ham to Danielle and accepted the Swiss cheese from Richard, "you said you had something important to discuss with us.
“Well,” Mrs. Robbins said," as you know, my eightieth birthday is next month. I wish to throw a family reunion and I intend to invite Drew and his family."
“Do you think they’ll come?” Richard asked, “you know how he is.”
“He’ll come if he knows what’s good for him,” Mrs. Robbins said with a smirk.