Friday, August 28, 2015

Indentured Servitude

Yesterday was unbearable.

My younger granddaughter, Chatty Cathy, was talking about getting back on her normal sleep cycle now that school is back in session.  She compared her summer to my everyday life.  "Nana, I sleep all day because there's nothing to do.  Not to offend you, but that must be how you feel every day with no purpose in life and no reason to get out of bed."

Yep.  That sums it up.

Unless you consider what I am required to accomplish each day:  feeding the family.

My oldest granddaughter, The Princess, came home a short time later in a grumpy mood.  I asked about her day and got a grunt.  Okay, I won't ask.  She did muster the strength to ask me what we were having for dinner.  "You probably won't like the answer", I said.  "We're having Chef's Salad."

"Oh, goodie", she smarmed.  (I don't know if that qualifies as a word, but it's the only way to describe the way she spoke to me.)

"You can blame your grandfather", I replied.  "It was his idea".

"I'll just eat the eggs", was her solution.

"I had no plans to cook eggs", I said, "and even if I did, you can't just eat eggs".

Anyway, from there it devolved into an argument about how a salad can't be a Chef's salad without egg, how I don't care what her definition of a Chef's salad is, how I'm sick of hearing complaints EVERY SINGLE NIGHT from one person or another, and that the cook is the only person who never gets her preferences for dinner.  I think at some point I yelled in frustration, she made a comment that implied I was crazy for going off, I said something about how seemingly small things take a toll after 37 years of dealing with them, she chuckled at the crazy lady and made a hateful comment, and I went to find the wine.

Oh, and my daughter, who gave birth to these children, received a gift in my mail from Chatty Cathy's grandmother (as a reward for giving birth, I suppose, since my husband and I are doing everything else).  It isn't the first "token of appreciation" she's received at my house, either.  I guess things are sent here to stick it to me for having the gall to financially, physically, and emotionally support her precious granddaughter at the expense of my golden years and my mental health.

Just this past weekend, my husband and I took the family out to dinner to celebrate The Princess's birthday.  Chatty Cathy asked me to take a photo with her (nothing warms an old lady's heart like having her granddaughter want to take a photo with her, even when the old lady hates having her picture taken).  She then posted the picture on social media.  Probably before we even finished dinner, Granny had reposted the photo after cropping me out!!!

Take your own photos, lady.  Oh, I guess that's hard when you only ask to see your granddaughter twice a year.  Then whine on Facebook about how you miss her so much it hurts your heart, and allow others to comment without correction that it's a shame she isn't allowed to spend more time with her.  (I've written about this before.)

Long story even longer, I told my husband this morning that I needed to resign my position.  I simply can't take it any more.

"Too bad that's not an option", was all he could say.

It's official.  I'm an indentured servant.  And I'm not sure what I got out of the deal.  Unless you count insanity.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Insignificance (And Other Realities of Motherhood)

Today was The Princess's 17th birthday.  My husband and I worked hard over the past week or two trying to determine which gifts to buy, and I spent every spare moment when she wasn't around making a special birthday card for her. I also purchased needed supplies to make her birthday cake (until she notified me late last night that she had changed her mind and wanted something different). This evening we took her, her boyfriend, and her sister out to dinner, where we were met by her mother.  Afterwards, I came home and hung streamers  to make the house a little more festive (because she had indicated at dinner that that was important to her). Of course I had spent the rest of the day doing laundry for her and her sister, Chatty Cathy, washing their dirty dishes, and other mind-numbing tasks only a custodial parent or grand/parent can understand.

After the cake had been eaten and presents opened, she wanted to take a picture with the Polaroid film we had bought for her birthday. I heard her rounding up her boyfriend, sister and mother. "Nana!" She called out, "I need you!"  Naively thinking she wanted to include me in the photo, I headed in the direction she indicated.  "Here", she said, handling me the camera.  "Take this picture of us."  I sucked my disappointment and hurt down into the deep recesses of my Mom-soul where all the rest of my pain lives, and I took the picture. 

So my husband and I, her sole caregivers and financial providers, don't measure up enough to be included in the family photo. At least I wasn't alone.

A short time later, I looked up from my clean-up duties just in time to see her having a picture taken with my husband, arms around each other and with beaming smiles.

I was now completely alone in my insignificance. Gut-wrenching.

I've been called every unholy name in the book because I've been charged with the task of turning her from a childish, self-centered, impulsive teen into (hopefully) a responsible, thoughtful, mature young woman. Not an easy task under the best of circumstances, and not one that makes you especially popular with children who think they know everything and are convinced that you are just an old fool who can't possibly relate to a world which no longer includes dinosaurs.

A little while later she walked into the room where I was trying to relax with my husband, and pulled out the two photos. "Aren't these so cute??!!" she asked.  Looking at the photos that included all the members of our family except me, I replied "Yes, they're adorable!"

I can cry later.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Just Be Held

"You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held." - Casting Crowns, Just Be Held

Sometimes God sends me exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.  Today was an especially troublesome day, and I tried my best to make it better.  But I couldn't.  And I forgot to ask for help in the one place I can always find it.

If, like me, you often feel you simply don't have the strength to keep going, I hope you'll find hope and comfort in this beautiful song.  Find your rest in the arms of the God who won't let go.  He's there for you.  Anytime. Anywhere. Always.