As many of you have deducted so far by reading my blog, this is the space that I use to process the thoughts that stream through my head.
My ex-husband used to tell me that I think too much. At the times that he would say that to me, it used to sound like a bad thing, more or less. It was like it was a put down and for anyone who knows him, I’m sure that’s how he meant it to sound so that I would feel bad about me and stop questioning him.
Although he was right about my thinking too much, I no longer feel bad that I do it. It is my way of making my way through something that I feel the need to make sense of. I used to talk over my thoughts with my daughter and she used to be able to sometimes help me see things from a different perspective but when you live alone there is only one perspective.
The most recent and constant thing that is troublesome to me is the relationship that I have with my granddaughters….I would love for us to feel closer to one another.
With one, I can not seem to say anything right when I see her and she feels guilty when she talks to me.
With the other, because we have a good time when we spend time together, I think it is the beginning of a new relationship and then weeks and sometimes months go by and I don’t hear from her…like every time is the first time.
I have a fear that I will be dead by the time they can appreciate that I am their grandmother and could also be a very good friend to them.
I know that many folks want to believe that death comes a long, long time from now but I am realistic and I know that I am closer to my end than I am my beginning.
My parents died in their mid seventies. I am 63 years old and it is only God who knows when it is someone’s time to be brought home for sure. I’m also smart enough to know that 10, 12 or 15 years goes by very quickly.
This is Edward Wm. Windsor Brittain and Natalie Gertrude (Hull) Brittain…..they are my mother’s parents.
When I think about them, it’s more a remembrance of how their house looked and smelled to me. As soon as we walked into the house all you could smell was freshly brewed coffee in combination with pipe tobacco and the scent of the natural materials that the house was made up of and very clean. So clean that we didn’t dare move or do anything to mess it up when we were there.
I liked Grandpa more than I liked Grandma,,,,he seemed to pay a little more attention to us than she did. I remember him taking us outside to see his garden and down into the cellar and showing us what he was working on in his workshop.
I also remember that Grandpa took very good care of Grandma. From an early age we knew that Grandma had what people called “spells”. She had had an operation to have a tumor removed from her brain and afterwards had epileptic seizures as a result and Grandpa always made sure that he was around when she needed him to be. I really liked that about him,,,,he seemed like a really good man.
I think I was about 3 years old when Pepere died and I don’t remember him at all. Memere, on the other hand was very memorable.
On most every Sunday, we used to go with my father to pick her up after we went to church. Dad used to take her to the cemetery to visit Pepere’s grave and then to our house afterwards.
From the time that she first got into the car, she complained….or at least to all of us kids, that’s what it sounded like, and it was said in french so we wouldn’t understand what she was saying.
My poor father, I remember him saying so many times to her, “Oh Ma, stop” and “speak English”.
From the English that Memere did speak, all our cousins were smarter, and more talented than any of us and she made sure that she bragged to us every chance that she got. Some of us she liked and some she didn’t like so much and she really wasn’t shy about letting us know which were which.
All I can say is that it was much better seeing Memere go home than it was to see her arrive.
I swore that when I had grandchildren of my own that I would be a better grandmother to them than my grandparents had been to me and my brothers and sisters.
Except for the first few years after my daughter Katie died, I thought I had been a very good and pretty hands on kind of grandmother.
I was present for the birth of my first granddaughter and missed the delivery of my second granddaughter because I took a break from watching my former daughter in law in labor and went outside for a cigarette….nobody thought it was that close…..especially me!
I made a home for my son and his first daughter when his wife wanted to play Army for a while. Between Katie and I, we made sure that the baby was well taken care of while her father was at work….and even continued to do so after “the Mom” came back from the Army and liked sleeping until noon almost every day.
I loved and accepted all the babies. Never chose favorites and I babysat when I was needed and never minded having them all at the same time in my home.
I read them bedtime stories, got down on the floor on my hands and knees and played hide and seek, sat through tea parties and played dress up and rocked and held them when they were tired and fussy. When I called, they all seemed to want to talk to me.
I remembered all their birthdays and sent them cards with a little something inside and sent packages filled with candy and cookies at the holidays. I always thought it would let them know that I still thought about them and cared about them and when they called to thank me, we would get to talk but I always seemed to have to call them to see if the package had arrived.
When they moved to Florida, I thought I had found a creative way for us to stay in touch. I wrote the beginning of a story and sent it to them. I thought that they could add their own content to the story and send it back to me to add more to it and so on and so forth.
I thought their input would give me some insight into who they were as people and that we would stay connected. I can’t remember for sure but I think I might have even sent them return, stamped, self addressed envelopes to make it easier for them to stay in touch but the story was never returned to me.
I used to feel confident that I would always be enough.
Enough for them to just love me and want to be around me because I was Memere even though they had people telling them things like, “I hate that word Memere” and spending tons of money on gifts and candy for them.
I thought that my grandkids would be taught that I had value because of who I was, their grandmother.
It is what I had been taught by my parents. That my grandparents had value because of who they were and it is what I taught my kids, that my parents, and also their father’s parents had value because of who they were. Their grandparents and not just someone who had value because they could buy them something or babysit when needed.
It honestly never occurred to me that it would ever have to become such a challenge for me to try and win back the affection and love of my grandchildren.
After my daughter died though, I got very, very sad and I didn’t act as happy and cheerful as I once had.
I used to think that it was my own fault that my grandchildren didn’t seem as interested in knowing me or being around me.
I thought, if only I had called them as much as their mother’s grandmother or went broke trying to buy them more stuff that they didn’t really need. Or maybe too if I had made more of an effort to overcome the anxiety that I felt when I was driving further than a mile or so away from my home. Anxiety that I felt because of the trauma of finding my daughter dead.
However, I know now that it isn’t and wasn’t necessarily anything that I did or didn’t do.
My grandchildren learned a different value system than the value system that I was taught. Along with my grandparents having value, my brothers and sisters and I were also taught that both my mother and my father had equal value and they parented together. They didn’t compete for anything like some parents do these days.
It’s taken me a while to get my head around understanding this other value system but I think I get it now. I can not make anyone do anything and I am grateful for what I am given.
God Bless and thank you for reading.