Normally, I try to keep things pretty diplomatic in our crazy household. After all, there are a bunch of us here – 3 generations and, basically, 3 species (guys, girls, and a dog). But sometimes, I feel deeply compelled to embrace the Jean-Luc within because I am right, and woman, you are wrong.
Of course, by woman I am referring to my adorably frustrating 89 yr old grandmother.
For those of you who do not live with the elderly, I imagine the judging will start right about now. “But she’s set in her ways,” you’ll say. “But you might upset her,” you’ll say. “But you should be thankful for every moment that you have her,” you’ll say. I have experienced these conversations in real life. I let it slip that occasionally I yell at my grandmother (the way my parents occasionally yelled at me), and they look at me like I’m some sort of monster. Like social services needs to get involved.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my grandma. She is, in many ways, awesome. But she doesn’t listen. And if she’s not blaming it on her hearing aid, she’s blaming it on her memory. And those things might be valid except for the fact that I have SIGNS up all over the kitchen reminding her what she should and shouldn’t do. Last I checked, you didn’t need your EARS to read a SIGN. And it’s not like they are James Bond signs that explode after you’re read them; they stay up. All the time. No memory required.
So when I come home to find that she has been lugging big, heavy glass cooking wear and baking pans back and forth in the kitchen, and that she has been washing the knives unsupervised, I feel like I am entitled to a bit of a bitch fit.
Because when the day comes that she slips, drops the glass, and cuts herself, who is going to be the one who has to drag her near-coma ass (because she’s on blood thinners) to the hospital? Oh right. That’d be me. And who’s going to have to take care of her once she comes home? Yep. You guessed it. Me.
Stupid me, I think that maybe one more conversation will do the trick. They tend to go like this:
Her: But I’m just trying to be helpful. You work so hard, and I like you to be able to come home to a clean kitchen.
Me: Yeah. A clean kitchen is great. And you CAN clean it. While I’m home. Because you know what isn’t great?
Me: Coming home to a grandma who is either freaked out because she broke an expensive dish, or dead, because she broke an expensive dish and had a heart attack. You know, those pills you take aren’t candy.
Her: You’re so melodramatic. Okay. Fine. I’ll be more careful. Just don’t tell Dad. I don’t need to get yelled at twice today.
As punishment for this crime, I did the dishes this afternoon (and refused to let her finish). I know. I’m so bad. When she realized that I wasn’t going to give, she decided to go upstairs and “take a nap.” Taking a nap is code for sulk. But, she is pretty old, so the sulking ends up in napping most of the time anyway.
That is the upside to all of this. She will wake up from her nap and it will be like it never happened. Not because her memory is that bad (despite all of her posturing, her memory is still pretty good), but because she will have decided that I am just a silly girl from a modern generation trying to get by. But I keep her in puzzles, and she loves me. And it’s okay that I’m wrong; it’s easier to let me think that I’m right. In other words, she’ll Jean-Luc right back at me.
So if you’re ever wondering where I got my stubbornness from…. there you go.