My family sucks at the family thing. Seriously.
We do better with friends and dogs. Friends are easy…dogs are easier.
Family is almost viewed as disposable in our circle of people. Which is sad when you actually think about it. However, that’s just how it is in our family.
Always has been.
Probably always will be.
When I look back on it I can see it was always there. From my mother not talking to her step brother, to my father and his siblings. On again and off again. Always.
The only constant was my gram, and the hope that I would always do better with my boys.
We would all drive my grandmother nuts. I mean, how do you deal with a family full of butt hurt whiners that won’t speak to each other for one reason or another? You beg, plead, argue and no one will listen because did I tell you we are also pig headed and stubborn?
It’s the family curse. Thyroid problems and stubbornness. Thank god I at least found a man that had the bull-headiness to put up with such a person.
It was nine years ago when there was a huge blow out on Thanks giving at my folk’s house. It was ugly. I wish I could say it was family sitcom type fighting that worked itself out before the ending credits, however it did not. In fact, that was the last time I spoke to either of my sisters. The last time other than a couple small moments here or there where I spoke to either of my parents.
It crushed my grandmother who was there to witness the horrible debacle. I hate how worried and disappointed it made her in all of us.
So many years of frustration and hurt feelings spewed into terrible words said by everyone that day.
Nonetheless, it was she who suffered far more than anyone else that day. As that was the moment it was decided we would never spend a holiday as a family again.
We all did what we do best, despite the promises that may have been made that night. We all left to pretend like nothing happened and just move on with life. We never spoke again. There were no more holidays, Sunday dinners, birthdays… it was just moving on like the other person never existed. Teaching the next generation to ignore what bothers you, and ditch what makes you uncomfortable.
I was okay with it most of the time. The day to day stuff was easy.
But what about the birth of a child?
The day a publishing company calls to say you won a writing contest and they want to publish you? When your kid is sick,
Or a friend dies.
Who do you call when there’s an accident and you now need surgery?
Your husband moves out because of work and you are alone for the next six months.
The first time one of your children moves out of the house and you are terrified.
These are the moments you wish it wasn’t so easy to forget about that family you once had.
Those moments you needed a mother.
Or a sister.
Maybe you heard a song over the radio that reminded you of your dad; so you keep driving around the block a hundred times so you stop crying before you get home.
Those were the moments I could pick up the phone and talk to my gram.
She always knew what to say. She never judged me or my decisions.
She never gave me the look of disappointment when I would have one of my hair brain moments.
She loved me and all my ugly no matter what, and told me so whenever she had a chance.
Even if for a moment things got crazy and I couldn’t spare her a second, she never complained, and would even try to take the fault saying she knew I was busy and she was just an old lady who would be there when I had a moment. I just never accepted how short that time frame would be.
She would beg me to call my sisters or my parents. She was so terrified that when she was gone, no one would have a reason to speak again. No one would fight for us to get over our differences.
She use to say her kids needed to grow up and stop acting like children. That they were family and should start acting like one. I would sit and agree, all while knowing she was scolding me about my own issues without coming out and telling me so.
If I was having a bad day, I could call her. I didn’t have to tell her why. She just knew and would say, “So, did I tell you the story about when I was about 17, and me and my boyfriend were caught kissing? My brother chased that boy ten miles that day! They just ran and ran and the funny thing was….that boy was a horrible kisser. My god he was drooling like a teething baby” and we would laugh for the next hour. Then she would say I need to stop fussing about whatever it was I was mad about, tell me things never stay bad long. She would then apologize for taking up all of my time before she hung up, she never understood how much those moments meant to me.
She wasn’t always perfect. Sometimes she was outright crazy.
I remember this one time she called yelling about how the kids in her building had the audacity to swim in the pool screeching and having fun when it was 110 degrees outside on an August morning.
I couldn’t understand why she would get so mad about that. She was so angry! I began laughing and told her it was hot as hell outside so of course they would go swimming. I told her she should grab a bathing suit and go out with them.
Her reply,” when I was a kid, we would swim in the pond away from all the old people. We would spend all day there. Wouldn’t bother no one.”
“Gram” I said, “You do know that out here, there isn’t a pond in probably two hundred miles.”
“Well, that’s what the hell is wrong with these people. The need to find a damn pond! Maybe their parents should parent better!”
That was her logic. Never made sense, though the way she would say it, you would find yourself agreeing. I mean, she’s right in a way. Shouldn’t we strive for a simpler life for our kids?
She would never say a whole word if she could shorten it either. It was like life was too busy to waste time on such a trivial thing.
Hamburg: because adding the “er” to hamburger was time consuming.
Peps because the “I” on a Pepsi took too long to say.
I think I was 14 when I finally understood that pock book was a pocket book, aka purse.
She loved horror movies, cigarettes, and sugar in her tea.
Made a chocolate cake to die for, until of course, her memory and arthritisdecided otherwise.
For twenty years I made her puff pastry she swore I couldn’t double because it wouldn’t come out right. Then I finally tried it, it worked. So did using a hand mixer instead of just a spoon. I still don’t know if she said that just to see if I would finally listen, or if she just believed it herself.
She was an amazing and stubborn woman. I am just glad you were in my life, even if it didn’t seem long enough. I just hope if there is something after this life you are being a little easy on them. Love you always gram. You will be missed.
I found Jimmy Hoffa’s remains today!
Okay, not really, however, I really thought I would though…or maybe a petrified cat? I almost hate to admit the cat thing might not have surprised me.
See, today was the almighty “clean the kids rooms because you can’t take it anymore or you will have to burn the house down” day. Let me just explain; that is like trying to excavate a grain of rice at the La Brea Tar pits…It’s a dirty job, smells bad, no one wants to do it, and you never know what lies beneath all the goo.
Today, boy 8 had a few of those orphan Sippy cups… *gag* Not sure, what I mean? Let me explain. You know when you move a crib, a car seat, or maybe a couch, and there’s that baby bottle of coagulated milk that you couldn’t find forever despite how hard you looked for it. Then one day it seems to show up; weeks later… on a hot august afternoon, nipple swelling with rotting milk?… Yup, that’s the one. Only this wasn’t a bottle. It was a cup…and not just one… try a few…5 or 3.
Boy 8, after I let out the shuddered screech like I just found a human size spider with two heads, figures out the jig is up and I found his cup stash. Most kids would blush, kick a rock shrugging and try to apologize for being gross… Too bad my little 3 yr old is just not a normal kid. In his little 3 yr old voice he scolds me! Me! The mother! “Why did you find my cups?” He even raised his eyebrows at me. Like I purposefully found those lost soldiers in order to ruin his day.
Me: “Um, *gag* because we are cleaning and this is disgusting! What the heck are you doing?” there was a few swear words under my breath, but I figured I would just let you use your imagination.
8: Because, ev-one uses my cups! These are my cups!”
Me: “But they are dirty 8! Ewww, we need to wash these.” (Still gagging, and now my eyes are leaking.)
8: “NO!” he then begins to throw himself on the ground like he is on fire, “They will take my cups!
Me: “Yeah, these will kill you if you don’t wash them… (when all else fails, threaten death) all these *gag* this is gross, go put them in the kitchen when you are done flopping around on the ground”
After he told me I was mean, he stomped out of the room and did what I asked. He put them in the kitchen. That’s when you heard boy 1 scream all kinds of things that were close to needing bleeping to keep it PG. It’s his kitchen day so I really couldn’t blame him…
Anywho, he had them pushed between the bed and the wall with his stuffed little toys covering them. This way, even if you were to change his sheets you wouldn’t see them. (Oh goodie me)
If there were a Zombie apocalypse, I would hide in one of my boy’s rooms. Maybe even with, “the cups of the copious death.” Nothing, not even the flesh rotting dead would suspect someone would hide there. The smells alone would have them assuming there were only other zombies in there so why bother.
It’s a teens “parent repellant”… at least, that is if the parent is smart enough to hide from the stench, for some reason I never learn…
When I was a kid, I could be a slob. I went through the faze of ‘clean clothes belong on one side of the room, dirty on the other’… I was not however, as gross as pre and teen boys! My room never smelled, and never had things in there that could win science fairs. I often wonder if it is just a boy thing… Sadly, friends tell me it is not. You would think by now nothing would surprise me… but it still does.
Banana peals… do you know how long it has been since I purchased bananas? No? Well me either! But today, I found not one… but two old banana peels in a bedroom! My smart-ass boy 5 ran up and snatched them out of my hand saying, “There they are! I have been looking everywhere for them! Thanks mom! You’re the best!” as he giggled out to the trashcan. I nonetheless, stood there with eyes blinking, mouth a gaped trying to figure out where I went wrong in life.
It took us almost five hours to get through three rooms. It took them under an hour to make a mess… At least I know there’s nothing dead in there…I hope…