Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Generational Rivalry?"

Last week when I picked my grandmother up for her beauty shop appointment, she hobbled to the door and said, "I've lost my coat." I questioned her about which coat, and she said a lightweight tan coat that she and my mom bought at Wal-Mart. She said, "I've looked EVERYWEHRE for it... and it's not in any of my closets." I assured her we would look for it when we returned. As we got into the car, she said, "I'm going to get a permanent today, if Pat has time. I told her I might last week." Now, a permanent takes 2 hours or better. I was hoping to hurry back home, fix a quick supper, and get to our high school homecoming game that night. This would delay me by at least an hour... and I wasn't sure the hairdresser was prepared to stay longer.

We got to the beauty shop, and I went in ahead of Mam-ma and asked the hairdresser, "Do you have time to do a perm? Mam-ma is saying she wants one, but I wasn't sure that would work for you." I know the hairdresser is rearing her grandson, and he goes to a daycare, so she might have to make arrangements for him to stay later when this happens. She insisted it was okay, but she wished she had known and we could have come earlier. I told her, "I just found out as we got in the car. Seriously, if it's not okay, just say so and we will wait." She said it was fine, but we would have to work around other clients, and it would take at least 2½ hours. So, I headed out to grocery shop and run some errands with plenty of time... even took in the Homecoming parade that was blocking my route.

I had just about finished shopping when my cell phone rang... the hairdresser... they finished in 2 hours. So I hurried to load my groceries into the car and make the trip back downtown to the beauty shop. I got Mam-ma into the car and started home with her, and she said, "I bet you were into something else this afternoon." I told her yes and no... that I had to get home to get supper ready so we could go to the ballgame. She offered me beans for supper... I thanked her and said I had already prepared a big pot of potato soup. I also mentioned that the baby was spending Saturday night and part of Sunday with us, because his grandparents were sick with the flu and he couldn't go to their house while his mother worked. She said, "Oh, you'll have the baby?" "Yes."

I was laughing that a friend had asked if we still keep the baby, and I told her we do, and she asked if that was still fun, and I said, "Of course!" Mam-ma said, "Well... it will start to wear on you." I told her keeping Timothy will NEVER get old to me... and she said, "Well you better enjoy it while you can." I laughed and as I got out of the car, I said, "Yes, there may come a day when he doesn't want to come stay with me," and I heard her mumble, "Yes, just like you kids. Someone asked me the other day, 'Polly, why don't your kids ever come to see you?' and I told them, 'They've grown up and they don't care nothing about me any more.'" I have heard this a thousand times, and rather than argue, I told her, "Mam-ma, when people grow up, they have responsibilities and their own lives to live... and they are simply busy."

Inside, we combed every closet for the elusive coat. She described it first as tan, then as khaki, and then as a light stone color, with a navy collar. I couldn't find anything like that. I called my mom and the drycleaners and neither had seen the coat. I told Mam-ma, "You've left it at Ruby's or at a domino party... call your friends and ask around." She said, "Ruby tells me all the time, 'Polly, you are always leaving your coat somewhere.'"

Trying to get home, I started to the door, and Mam-ma wanted me to look at her tomatoes. She has a big vine in her back yard with clusters of green tomatoes on it. A cold front had come through earlier in the morning, and she wanted to cover the tomatoes from potential frost. A blanket already surrounded the heavy wire cage supporting the vine. I said, "Looks like it's covered to me." She exclaimed, "Oh no it's not!" So I told her to get me a sheet and I would cover the tomatoes. "No, you won't!" she replied. "I'm going to do that." "Well I'm going with you!" I added. So she hobbled outside and got on the walker she leaves posted at her back door, and together we covered the tomatoes and pinned the blanket to the cage with clothespins.

Saturday, our phone rang... Mam-ma. "Do you have the baby?" "No, he isn't coming until around 1:00 p.m." "Oh... well... I found my coat!" I asked where it was, and she said, "In my closet. I had just simply overlooked it. I got up at 3:00 this morning determined to find that coat... and there it was." Then she added... "I bet you were cooking lunch." I told her no, I was watching the Razorback game. "So am I!" she said! She told me a few other things and then said, "I'll let you go watch your game." A few hours later, she called again... "Did you get the baby?" "Yes, he's here." "How was the game?" "We lost." "Well, I had company and had to turn it off, so I didn't know. What was the score?" I told her. "Well, I had company, so I didn't know... now I do." Click... she had hung up. And it clicked with me - she is jealous of the time we spend with the baby! Now, that's not all of it, but it's a big part.

At the ballgame, I sat behind my mother and grandmother's pastor... a man a few years older than I whom I have known all my life. He had visited Mam-ma recently. He introduced me to some church staff members sitting next to him, and the woman said, "Oh, I've heard a lot about you!" I asked from whom, and she said... "Your mother." I laughed and said, "Good... then it was probably nice things. If you had said my grandmother, I would have worried." I shared my afternoon experience and my grandmother's comment that we don't care and don't come to visit. My pastor friend shook his head. Then he laughed and said someone had complained lately when he visited her that he didn't come often enough - that he should visit her every week. He said, "I told her, 'You don't want to be sick enough for me to visit every week!'"

My mother got a call Monday from Mam-ma, and a cousin had said, "You ought to take a picture of those tomatoes!" Mam-ma was wanting to know if Mom had a digital camera. Mom offered to take pictures on Wednesday... what was she thinking?! I told her, "Mam-ma will expect that photo to be in the local paper!" True to her word, she went to my grandmother's today and photographed the tomatoes! I'm sure my cousin commented in passing, but Mam-ma internalizes everything!

Friday we go to the cardiologist for our check-up. It's supposed to be storming and flooding... seriously - like 5-7 inches of rain! My husband has graciously offered to drive us (or row us there?). Wish me luck... I'll let you know how we fare!

BTW... our darling Timothy DID spend much of the weekend... we didn't sleep much, but we were so blessed by his smiles.

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