If you don’t already follow her on social media, then please allow Lady G and I to introduce you to Michelle! Here she discusses the importance of her family and the role she plays in it.
Everyone who personally knows me knows that when I’m referring to my Grannie, it’s my mother’s mother. When my other grandmother was alive, Grandma Emma, I either referred to her by name, or as “my other grandmother.” Grannie has always been Grannie.
One of the best things about our relationship is that I had her all to myself for twenty-three years. This was for two reasons. One, my aunt and mother were at least a decade apart. Secondly, my aunt delayed having children until she was in her 30s, thus giving me a Grannie advantage, so to speak, and also making me the only person to call her Grannie. Even though my cousins and I share a grandmother, because they’re in the same generation as my children, for whom she is their great-grandmother, they all call her Gi-Gi.
But I digress.
The best thing about my Grannie is that she always has some wonderful piece of advice, in the form of a saying that just seems to roll off her tongue.
Her most recent one is “The only reason you’re not president is because Obama is.” See how poignant that is? I always took that to mean that you can do whatever you want to do. It shows a positive characteristic that she possesses. For the most part, anything you tell her you want to do, she’ll encourage you and even monetarily support you in achieving that dream.
Another piece of advice that I was raised hearing is “If you make your bed hard, then get out the bed.” I always thought this was clever because it’s a twist on an older adage if you make your bed hard, then lie in it. “Oh no,” my Grannie will tell you to this day. “If your bed is hard, then go find a new bed; change the bed.” I absolutely love this saying because it’s so true. A lot of times we think we have to remain in a situation because we created the situation. But even the law of attraction and all types of new age thinking will advise you to create a new thought and manifest a new reality.
The last piece of advice she gave me was as an adult. I remember explaining to her an email I’d sent to my doctoral chair. Having little knowledge about email, she stopped me mid-story and said, “You’re giving this lady too much information. She doesn’t need to know that you have to drop the kids off and pick them up at five. All she needs to know is you can’t make the meeting.” From that day on, I rarely give excuses for why I can’t do something at work. She was right. All people need to know is the crux of the information. A lot of times we want people to know that we’re hard workers, who would never be derelict in our duties. We think we need “good excuses” to not meet job expectations. Nope. We don’t. So pare down those emails and know that everything will be okay.
Tomorrow will be Grannie’s 92nd birthday. I’m sure when I speak with her, she’ll have more quotables for me.
Do you have any favorite sayings that get you through situations? Feel free to share. My blog is called Kwoted after all 😉
Happily shared for #ForgivingFridays and Debbie’s blog.
Be yourself. Love yourself. Create boundaries. Speak your truth. Allow others to be themselves. If you’ve been following my blog for even a few weeks, then these should sound familiar. They are mantras by which I have lived over the past five years. However, I never want anyone to read these and believe that I think they’re easy. They are not. And usually I’m reminded by how challenging they are whenever a family member arrives.
This time it’s my grandmother.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with Grannie. She was born in 1926 and holds certain opinions. One of them is that children should be seen and not heard. And if you spoke out of turn with her, you either were slapped, or told to shut up.
Much of my childhood and early adulthood I remember wanting badly to not only be heard, but also to be understood. And, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a communicator and have a lot to say…all the time. Being around Grannie meant silence, unless I was directly spoken to. And as exaggerated as it sounds, it always felt like an assault on my spirit.
Because the caveat for speaking my mind seemed to be becoming an adult, I thought surely that when “I got grown” I’d be able to use my voice with her. The answer is yes and no. It seems I can share what I believe or know is true for myself, but not at the expense of a disagreement or misunderstanding. At the age of almost 45, my insides still begin to swish around when I answer Grannie truthfully. When this happens, I remind myself that I’m an adult, whose words are important. And no matter how much I’m shaking on the inside, I take a deep breath, speak my mind, and if an argument ensues, I deal with it.
This occurred during her most recent visit. It began with a simple question: Do you want eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast?
“I want whatever you’re doing,” she answered.
“Okay,” I said. “When people visit, then I usually make breakfast.”
Just like that. The conversation shifted.
“I’m not people,” she said.
“Yes you are Grannie,” I replied. Cue shivering insides.
“I’m not people,” she repeated.
Not one for morning confrontations, I looked at her and said, “This is not a big deal. This is a yes I want breakfast or no I don’t.”
“Yes,” she said and went back to reading.
But this wasn’t over.
The conversation continued when she asked if my feelings were hurt because she didn’t attend Kesi’s graduation or my 43rd birthday event.
“Whenever people…” I began.
“There you go with the people again. I am not people. I’m special.”
She’d traded slapping and shut up for interrupting my words. At this point, I could feel myself getting angry. Instead of pushing it down as I would have in the past, I let myself be mad.
“Yes Grannie you’re special. But I treat people the same no matter what.”
“You do not treat people the same,” she said a little louder with a mouthful of eggs.
Cue shaking voice. “Grannie how are you going to tell me how I operate with others?”
Grannie paused. She seemed to be thinking about what I said. How could she really tell me how I function? She couldn’t. She doesn’t see it because she lives over a thousand miles away.
Her next words? “You might treat everybody the same, but I don’t like it.”
“Aha,” I said. “That’s what it is. You might not like it, but that doesn’t make it not true.”
“Well, you might make breakfast for everybody, but you better not make everybody your grannie,” she added.
This scenario ended with me laughing and saying, “That’s impossible. Everyone can’t be my grannie.”
I realize that I could’ve ended this conversation by simply saying, “okay” at the beginning. I understand that I could’ve stopped the discussion when it entered “I’m special” territory. But that’s not me. Years of silence have shown me that if I have something to say, then it’s okay to voice it, even if everything about the exchange is invisibly scary.
Also worth mentioning is that having unresolved issues that creep up in interactions and conversations seems to be common for everyone. But as I’ve said before on this blog, other people’s issues are not your responsibility, even if the person is your grandmother.
The only person you can ever control is you.
So, in that moment, I’m glad I controlled myself and still managed to speak my mind. Did I have more to say? Of course. Something in me still wanted to be heard. Understood. But it wasn’t going to happen that day. That’s something I realized. However, I also recognized my growth. No matter how tiny, it was significant. And this was a small success for sure because I was mostly silent for the remainder of her visit. But that’s okay too. Small victories are what have lead me towards the direction of being my true self. Who knows? Maybe next time I’ll speak up twice. Or better yet, maybe I’ll release the desire to be heard.