My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are There Introverted Grandmas?

I'm really not sociable. I mean, I try to be friendly and involved with my grandbaby's Baby Mama while her and Austin are here but after a couple of hours I just want to not talk. I realize from a totally logical perspective that pain has made me an introvert and ALL introverts need time alone but I am trying hard to not be that way. I think grandmas are supposed to be extroverts.

The thing is that I've realized that boy mamas aren't usually as "involved" in the grandkids' lives... ok, truthfully... I just know that growing up we didn't spend as much time with my dad's mom as my mom's mom... and I know that my kids have had almost no contact at all with their dad's mom and I worry that as a paternal grandmother that I'll not have the same opportunities in my grandkids' lives, what with me not getting out much and all. I logically understand that with my dad's mom she worked full-time and then when she retired she moved to Florida and then she re-married and moved to North Carolina so - you know, distance - but I live a distance away from 2/3 of my kids. And with my kids' grandmom she was/is really not mentally stable and then married a crack dealer who kidnapped and beat up his mother-in-law (true story) and that she never really made an effort to see my kids, save a once a year Christmas letter but still... ok, I have nothing in common with her but still, dad's mom = distant.

And I've got to be honest... I *hope* that Austin's sweet loyalty will make him a good dad but I know that he's got a long way to go before he's what I would call a provider. I mean... I was a teen mom but my first thought was... "omg I need a job so that I have health insurance and can afford diapers and formula" and these kids' reality is medicaid and WIC and sleeping all day. I had Duchess Kate level morning sickness - constant puking - and I worked full time because my baby needed to have health insurance.

That's another thing about my kids' other grandmother... when I married my kids' dad (at 17) my three little brothers still lived at home in a house with one bathroom and so we started out marriage living with his mom. She was on disability (painful irony) and my baby daddy was still in high school so I was the only one in the house who was working but she had a CHORE LIST for me to complete every day after working full-time, spending two hours commuting back and forth to work and puking my guts up every day. She also expected us - and by "us" I mean "me" because I was the only one working - to pay 2/3 of the household bills because we were 2/3 of the household. So... long story short, we didn't last long with her and I honestly never forgot how she treated me at that really, really difficult time in my life. We never bonded over picking out a crib or buying baby clothes or coming up with a name. No, what I remember most about my babies' "other" grandmother was her best friend calling me while I was IN LABOR to harass me about including my mother-in-law in the birth.

I know it's all freakishly modern to have natural childbirth with half the family watching but I was a "me and the daddy only" type birth-er and I let the doctor be there for two births but the third was just some random nurse we grabbed at the last minute because they didn't believe that I was really in labor. (For the record - I don't joke about such things). Anyways... back to last paragraph... I politely but in no uncertain terms told the best friend where she could shove it because I was busy trying to shove a kid out. Back then I wasn't as tactful as I am now, maturity and all.

Anyways... so I have major fears about being allowed to play a role in the lives of my future grandchildren because my past experience with bonding and paternal grandmothers isn't all that great. I mean, then there's my sister-in-law who has basically banned our entire family from seeing her kids for - long story but it should have been over long ago. Then there's my brother in Chattanooga who is a Jehovah's Witness but other than birthday and holiday bonding he has worked hard to have us be a part of his kids' lives but it's awkward because, you know, holidays and stuff...  and then, of course, there's my older brother whose two little girls are very, very much a treasured part of our lives.

Major fears about being allowed to play a role... major fears of my son doing something that gets us all banned from the baby's life... which leaves me really trying hard to bond with my grandbaby's Baby Mama.

And here's the thing: I'm just not that sociable. I've always been the "let me just stay out of your way" kind of mother to my adult children. I'm not one who has expectations about obligatory phone calls once a week or attending certain holiday events. I'm just not. I want my kids around me when they want to be around me and not a second more. That whole "stay out of the way" thing has worked fairly well so far. (except on Cody and Marquee's wedding night when they had to drive three hours round trip to meet up with me on a really rainy night because I had the keys to the reception venue in my purse...  sad, sad memories of them eating Waffle House in the car waiting for me to meet them).  I have never, ever, not one single time interfered in my grown childrens' lives (correct me if I'm wrong, y'all). I give opinions only when expressly asked for an opinion and then I preface it with, "well, do you want my opinion?" and if the answer is no, I shove it back in like two hours of pushing that ended up in a forceps delivery, child number one, thank you very much.

But grandbaby's Baby Mama IS sociable and wants to talk about all kinds of things that, oh my word!, I'm tickled pink (or blue?) to be included in... from what to expect when you're expecting to baby names (so far it's Cosette Raquel or Hayden James, both highly, HIGHLY subject to change) to gender reveal parties (back in my day that was aka "birth") to showers to ... everything. And I so very much want to bond with her and be supportive and encouraging and let's be honest... fill in the gaps that my sweetly earnest but very naive grown child may leave but I am SO UNSOCIABLE that I encouraged them to spend this evening back at her house so she could "be more comfortable" before my paternal grandma comes to spend the weekend with us because... although I know that it is an incredible gift that my almost 91 year old grandmother is still with us... it's also really, really exhausting for me to be sociable all weekend.

I know that all of this is just a big long string of run-on paragraphs and what I should be focusing on is how blessed we are to have five living generations, even if that means I have to actually interact with the non-furry, three dimensional people for a little while. If you take anything from this let it be that people who are in pain a lot are not unsociable because they don't love you or want to see you... it's just that the "surviving" part of life has become much more difficult than it should be.

And ... cat pictures... just because.... waiting for nummies is so funny!

Remind me to tell you later about the snake in the kitchen.

Happy Friday-Eve!