Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (4)
Share on Facebook

the weepy, whiny, venting zone


Yeah, feel free to skip this one, too. Nothing really useful or important is said.

And so the kids and I are traveling up north for Thanksgiving late tomorrow afternoon. We will be leaving after dinner, or Friday morning. We have re-entered the inconvenient zone again.

This happens every so often. The in-laws decide the kids and I are a bother, an inconvenience, something. They don't outright say it, but it's apparent. We've been in this zone, again, for several months now. They tend to function under the "Kids should be seen and not heard" philosophy, and my little boys are both seen and heard. (And we exhaust the grandparents, who are already exhausted, and I leave even more exhausted than when I arrived.) Now, when indoors, I do try to get Avadore and LD to behave like civilized creatures, but they are still children, still little boys, with a lot of life in them that I will not stifle. The kids will be behaving in a very tame manner (particularly for them) and the grandparents will decide the kids are too loud, too excited. This makes visiting hard.

I'm not sure how to explain it, so let me give you an example of our last visit:

Grandpa says, "When are the kids coming to visit? I haven't seen them for a while. They're coming up this weekend." He's used to deciding these things, you see. Well, that weekend was bad. And I told him so. He wasn't amused, but he dealt with it well. I told him we'd be there the next weekend. Well, that was fine. He was going hunting, but he'd see the kids for a bit.

We arrive. Grandparents are excited. Grandpa tells Avi they're going to go feed the ducks. Oh the time they will have. Rice tells me Grandpa has said he'll watch the kids all morning so I can rest (I've been exhausted) and sleep or do whatever I want to do. (He doesn't have to go into work.) Grandma will watch the kids that afternoon so I can get my back taken care of. (Grandma is off of work that afternoon.) Grandma has also given Rice some movie tickets so we can go to a movie, and they'll watch the kids.

And then minds are changed. Rice and I end up watching the kids for all but 30 minutes the morning his dad was supposed to. Rice ended up watching the kids most of the time when his mom was supposed to. (Rice was supposed to be at work -- his parents had the day off.) His parents backed out of watching the kids while we were to go to the movie. (They finally, nicely, backed in again after Rice brought it up.) Rice's mom was asking her husband when he was taking Avadore to see the ducks. Some stuff had suddenly come up (mumble, mumble). Hunting date (mumble, mumble).

And then I hear Rice's dad on the phone. Some friend tells Grandpa that he doesn't want to go hunting that weekend -- the area is muddy and awful. He should wait for another weekend. So Grandpa calls his hunting buddy, tells him how bad the hunting site is, and cancels. When Rice comes back (to evidently watch the kids), Grandpa tells Rice he's canceled his hunting trip because the grandkids are in town and he wants to be with them instead. He'll go hunting another time. Such sacrifices must be made, you know.

And Grandpa, after much reminding, finally finds the time to take Avadore to see the ducks. Thankfully.

This also ended up being one of those, "We're glad you came, now here's the door," sort of visits.

And that's okay. It's their house. But why did they ask us to come in the first place?

Every so often my MIL also decides she's forgotten about my childhood and has to start asking personal and pointed questions about the sorts of things that happened to me. You know the, "Were you abused?" sorts of questions. And the "What happened, and how so?" sorts of questions. I speak in generalities, and try to excuse myself as soon as possible.

No matter what she thinks, she does not want to know the answers.

At least she doesn't tell me that (based on her minor in psychology from the '60's) I'll absolutely abuse my kids and need counseling anymore. I hated that one. Particularly since it worried me as well, and I had sought counseling and had been told many times that it was incredibly unlikely I would abuse my kids. I knew what had happened was wrong. I had broken the cycle. (The counselor I was seeing at the time was appalled when I told her what my MIL had said. It was nice it wasn't just me who was bothered by it.)


Yesterday, there was a family event (wedding redo -- my brother's and SIL) up north that occurred first thing in the morning. Several days ago, Rice asked if the kids and I could crash at the in-laws so we didn't have to get up at 4 and drive up north that morning. That was fine, but Grandma and Grandpa would be too tired to make dinner for Rice, and them, and the kids and I, too, so I needed to bring our own dinner. I opted to eat before we left. That was fine. I know that cooking for 6 vs. 3 can be a bit of a deal. It still felt a little weird because it's a bit different than how things are down back home, but I appreciate that they're tired and they were honest instead of being annoyed with us when we inconveniently required them to go to extra effort for us.

So I woke up at 5:30, and crawled out of bed, and talked with Rice, and got the kids and I ready to go the family doohickey. I had originally planned to go the early morning family thing and then return, clean up after ourselves, strip the beds, pack up, and leave after we'd had lunch with the family. I was getting the kids ready to go when the MIL suggested I should maybe do that stuff right then so I could get on the road right after we were done. (When she says these things, they're not a suggestion, really. It's a nice way of telling someone to get something done.) I can take a hint, so I did. Well, most of it. At this point, after packing up, I was already 20 minutes late, so I hoped Rice would strip the beds and all that sort of thing. Grandma is OCD1 and such things really bother her, and it's good to keep Grandma happy.

And that could be part of the problem. We drive her nuts simply because by the very nature of being a young family we can't help but be not OCD all the time. I'm not anyway. I like things neat and tidy. We're not always that way. (I have children and am not into spending all day cleaning my house.) But I don't have the nerves for perfection, and she doesn't have the nerves for imperfection.

I am very imperfect. So are my children. Good kids. Imperfect.

Thank heavens.

That's all I need -- The Bad Seed Y2K.

So, while there, I was also given the "impression" that if we could be as nil as possible this holiday weekend, that would be much appreciated. We were told we could stay the night Thursday. So we will go down, and come back Friday. Rice will be home for Sunday. The Spots are in Salt Lake, and are theoretically moving into their own place when they return. The kids and I will watch The X-Files. I'll work on the novel, which is still progressing. I'm considering going out today and getting some holiday eats so we have leftovers. Yams, you know. Cranberries. Avadore loves those pickles. (At Thanksgiving on Sunday, he ate cranberries, pickles, minicorn, and pie. Sounds like me at his age.)

But I have got to tell you, after being essentially homeless during a good portion of 1994 and then going from place to place for too much of my adult life, and not having a more permanent promise of home until after I was married (as permanent as that gets), the thought of having a family to go to and be with for the holidays is such a nice thought. And this one is starting to feel a little lonely.

October is a hard time of year for me. November gets worse. Thanksgiving is hard. Really, really hard. It's the anniversaries that are the worst, you know.

At least I have my kids. We can be happy together. Make a nice time together.

But I need to knock this off. Really. What is there to feel bad about? I have a great house. I have great kids. I have enough to eat. I have a wonderful bed. I lack for nothing tangible.

And at least I'll have company tomorrow. That's cool. It really is. Except that it can be worse to be with a bunch of people when you're the one in the way than to be alone. It's true. I speak from lots and lots and lots of experience.

1 I say this literally. It's a good thing to know. It helps so one isn't insulted when you clean the kitchen and she does it again right after you. You could have done it perfectly and she'd redo it. Same with the dishes. I can't tell you how many times I've seen her have a guest do the dishes and then has gone in after them and redone them just because they didn't organize them in the dishwasher as she would have done. I have known some people to comment, after visiting her home for the first time, things like, "Does anyone really live there?" I have known some people to comment that they really like her house because it looks like no one lives there. My house always looks like lots of someones live here, which is usually the case. This has occasionally driven the MIL nuts.

Read/Post Comments (4)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 JournalScape.com. All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.