Monday, January 8, 2018

Grandmother in Training

by Madeleine Kando

My friend Karen is a grandmother. She insisted on being there during her grandson’s delivery, but for some reason, her daughter said it would be better if she spent the $3000 airfare on a vacation with her husband in Hawaii instead. ‘But I can give such useful advice’, Karen said. After all, she had been through it three times! Ok, so maybe her daughter was right. In Karen’s days, not even husbands were allowed in the delivery room.

She was a bit disappointed, she told me, when her daughter didn’t take her advice on naming her grandson. ‘What kind of name is Redmond’, she said. ‘His hair isn’t red’. But no matter how sensible her suggestion was, to name her grandson Gregory (after her own father), it fell on deaf ears.

Since Gregory’s (I mean Redmond’s) birth, Karen likes to pay her daughter surprise visits, and give her the opportunity to spend quality time together. But last time her daughter got upset and said that Karen should call first to ask if it was convenient to just show up like that. ‘Well, what’s more important; grandma’s visit or their precious schedule’, Karen told her.

She also likes to bring sweets for Redmond (a.k.a. Gregory), but doesn’t sense any appreciation from her daughter. ‘What’s the big deal?’ she told her daughter. ‘You kids ate plenty of candy, and here you are, fine and healthy!’ I sort of agree with her. Parents these days, they are so fussy.

The last time Karen paid her daughter a surprise visit, the house was such a mess! Toys all over the place, clothes on the floor... ‘I don’t know how you do it’ Karen said. ‘Being gone so much at work. Doesn’t the baby miss you?’ That time her daughter got so upset, she slammed the door in Karen’s face. Go figure.

When Gregory (I mean Redmond) was 6 months old, Karen asked her daughter why she was still breastfeeding. ‘Don't you think he's a little old for that? But she got the silent treatment after that comment. ‘What’s up with parents these days? What’s wrong with giving a bit of sensible advice?’ Karen asked me.

During Karen’s last visit (it was only a short 4-week visit, but her daughter was against her staying longer than that, God knows why), she had a grand time baby siting Redmond. They ate in bed and watched her favorite program on TV. He was fascinated with ‘Days of our Lives’. When her daughter found crumbs under the sheets, she got upset again. And when Redmond told his mother all about how Tom Horton falls in love with his younger sister Marie, because he doesn’t remember who he is, she completely flipped on poor Karen. ‘What’s so terrible about a little romance in a 5 year old’s life?’ Karen asked.

And she told her daughter pointblank: ‘Don’t be so uptight. It's okay to relax the rules a little bit when Grandma's here! leave comment here