Mar 30 2009


I still have two Grandmothers, but for years I’ve felt like I only have one.

My father’s mother is just about exactly what you’d hope a Grandma would be- she frets unnecessarily over us, sends us things covered in flowers and baby animals, cherishes pictures and gifts we’ve given her over the years, and loves the dickens out of us. She sends Cole money for his savings account every month, and makes sure to have a card and/or present in our mailbox on time for every holiday and birthday. She usually gets up to see us about two times per year, and would be here more if it wasn’t for her husband’s fear of flying (they drive from AZ each time! Scares the shit out of me.) It would only be better if she could live closer. In the same state would be a start. I love her so much, and I dread the day that I get “That Phone Call.”

My mother’s mother, on the VERY opposite other hand, has always been distant. She lives on the other side of the country, for many years lived in Africa, does not make any effort to come out and see us (the last time I saw her on this coast was at my wedding when my parents paid for her to come out- that was 8 years ago), doesn’t make much of an effort to see us even when we get back there (I saw her briefly almost 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Cole and vacationing with the family at the Jersey Shore, and even then she and her husband spent more time talking to my husband than to me), doesn’t write, doesn’t call, doesn’t send Christmas presents or birthday cards, not even to Cole.

Really, it’s not much like she’s a Grandmother in anything but a blood way.

And honestly, all I’m looking for is a little effort. I don’t really care if she sends presents, but a phone call or a letter once in a while would be nice. I thought things would get better when her horrible, overbearing husband died, but no. They haven’t.

And fine- if she doesn’t want to be in my life, I’m okay with that. I haven’t come to expect anything more from her. I don’t need for everyone, relatives included, to like or love me. I don’t expect for everyone to want to talk to my son on the phone or wish him a happy birthday. That’s okay.

But when she has a “long talk” with my father over the weekend, and whines to him that she’d really love to get a phone call or letter from me because she misses talking to me? Forget it.

I have made efforts. I used to write to her frequently, but got absolutely nothing back. I’m sorry, but I need more than that. When she doesn’t respond to me for years, I feel like I’ve wasted a whole lot of time, and I don’t really feel obligated to waste more. If she wants a letter, she can write to me this time. If she wants to talk, she can call. She knows my address, she knows my phone number. I feel like her begging for contact from me is, at this late point, pure posturing.

And yeah, I kind of feel like a schmuck. She IS my Grandmother, after all. And this comes right on the heels of my dear friends losing their Grandfather over the weekend, a Grandfather who was probably never the best at that whole Grandfather Role-thing, but whom they are now missing all the same. Will I miss her when she’s gone- my Grandmother who was never really there? Will it really be any different? Will I feel like an asshole for missing out on any chance to communicate with her, as one-sided as it may be?

I don’t know, but I do know that I’m tired of feeling hurt; tired of feeling like I’m not worth her time. She can make this move.

1 Comment

  • By kittyinarocket, March 31, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    I can relate. My mom’s mother lives on the East Coast. She’s a very nice woman, and my mother loves her a lot. She did come out for my brother’s birth to keep me company (I was two) and for my brother’s graduation from high school. But other than that, seeing her entailed getting on a plane every four years or so to see her in Conn.

    She’s my mom’s mom more than a grandma. I’m not bitter, and in some ways I think it’s harder on my mom that I’m not.

    I just found out her cancer is back, and that she is choosing not to treat it. I feel like I should make some huge effort, but then again, where do you begin with a stranger.

    She and my mom have finally patched up a lifelong rocky relationship, and I’m totally stuck as to what my role, if any, is supposed to be at this point. She has a million grandchildren who live close to her, and I’m way out here and always have been. As far as I know, she’s never complained about our lack of relationship. But then again, neither have I.

    Hmm… family is a strange thing.

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