Blog Post, Southern Thing Column

Yes, Atticus Finch, you can choose your family

Below is an excerpt of a column that originally appeared on It’s a Southern Thing. Click here to be directed to the full column now.

Her voice was low but sweet. It seemed too hoarse for the tiny body it came from, as if it had flowed over gravel and sandpaper, smoothed out with maybe just a touch of honey. She had graying hair and round glasses and, if I remember correctly, she was wearing orthopedic tennis shoes that first day. Her wrinkles looked soft as an oft used carbon paper, wadded and smoothed countless times, and her eyes had a spark that told me this woman, who was maybe 5 feet and 90 pounds, had a firecracker under her bonnet.

She was tiny enough to put in my pocket, but, as I later learned, she would have jerked a knot in my tail if I’d tried.

The woman on my doorstep, who would soon become known as Nanna, had come to be interviewed as caregiver for my Baby Girl, who was 2 months old. I was returning to work part-time so, rather than try to fit odd hours into a daycare schedule, I wanted someone who could care for her at our house. The 65-year-old widow with no one at home was the ideal candidate and she was hired.

I didn’t know it that day, but we had just adopted a grandmother – and she adopted us right back. Nanna lost her heart to Baby Girl that very first day. Click here to finish reading the full column now.

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