Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Not your average grandmother...

You know, I hear stories about some grandmothers that teach their grandchildren to knit, bake, cook, sew, etc. My grandmother taught me how to mix drinks, cuss in Norwegian and forget birthdays. Of course, we don't have a very close relationship. My sister and I grew up several states away from our relatives and that may have something to do with it. Or perhaps, just maybe, there's just something about our respective make-ups that doesn't allow us to be close to one another. I'm really trying to forget and forgive. Maybe this blogging thing will help with this as she's due at my house in just under 3 1/2 hours. Now, I don't have to deal with her very often as she lives in Wisconsin & I live in Mississippi. But, my children like her & enjoy spending time with her and it's not every day that children get to interact with their great-grandmother. She's 87 years old and still travels, goes to yard sales & bar hops. She is an incredibly strong woman who's been through hell and back. She was married and had her first child at 15, she went on to have 4 more girls over the course of 30 years. Her husband, whom I never met, was an abusive alcoholic. (To this day, she will not admit that he had a problem with drinking.) She survived his death, was married several more times and is doing better than most women that age that I know. She also had to bury her oldest child a couple of years ago - that's something that no parent should have to do, but she did it with grace. I really do wish that I could like this woman more.

You see, we have somewhat of a history. This history started way back when she would send my sister birthday cards, but not me. My birthday is about a week before hers, while Sister's is a couple of months before. That has always left me feeling a bit out with her. I mean, she's the only grandmother I've ever had. My dad's mom died well before I was born. Anyway, the shit really hit the fan a few years ago. My mom & dad were going through a nasty divorce. (Yes, after almost 40 years of marriage - Mom always did use the term better late than never.) I'm not sure what happened to make my grandmother think what she was thinking, but she called me up one morning. I was so excited to see her name on the caller id. She really had only called me, throughout my entire life, a few times. I thought she was calling to check on the kids, to talk about life. WRONG. She called furious. She cussed and ranted and raved and told me I was a horrible mother and that she hoped my kids didn't know what kind of mother they had. She was doing all of this while I was standing in our backyard watching my children play. She was accusing me of things I had no clue about. To this day, I don't know where she got those ideas, but she was mistaken and instead of asking me, she blamed. And boy, did she blame. I finally told her she could calm down and talk, or I would hang up. I hung up. She just couldn't stop. Not only couldn't she stop yelling at me on the phone, I received a letter a few days later. I took the letter to my mother & told her the next time she spoke to that woman, to tell her not to contact me at all.

This brings into the fact that I don't think I've fully forgotten that my mother chose to "over look" grandmother's rant. She felt I just needed to "let it go." I probably do need to let it go, but isn't there some rule somewhere saying a grandmother is not supposed to treat a grandchild that way? Forget the whole grandchild/grandparent thing - no person should treat another person that way. period.

I realize that my grandmother won't be around forever and that I should really try to make the best of the time I have with her. However, every time I see her or hear from her now, I cringe. I wonder if she's just going to go off as she did that time while I stood in my backyard and she broke my heart and my respect for her. She and my mother act as though nothing ever happened now. It's like I'm supposed to just erase the hurt that was caused and forget. I'm sorry, but I haven't been able to do that yet. I don't know that I'll ever be able to do that. I can be around her now, and I can smile and admire her strength for the life she's lived. I can let my children know the great grandmother they have, as she is the only great grandparent living. She loves the twins and treats them great. Perhaps one day I will feel comfortable around her, but today is not that day. I'll let you know how today's visit goes.

Take care - Me

1 comment:

Marcus said...

I am well aware that I have an abnormally easy time severing relationships. However, I just don't believe that anyone should have to endure a negative, life-draining relationship with anyone, and especially not for the simple reason of 'Well, they're relatives." Please. Family are the people that we know that we can count on. They don't have to share our biology. And just because there IS a genetic link, that does not obligate us to a relationship. I don't know how our society developed the whole 'blood is thicker than water' mentality, but it doesn't work. Life is too short to have to suffer abuses from people. If relationships don't make you feel better, then they should be dissolved. Sermon over. You may Paypal me your tithe.