I’d like to apologize to my late grandmothers, Mame and Rula, for ignoring them in the last years of their lives.
I did go to see Mame in a nursing home shortly after my marriage to my first husband. Rula passed away before I could say goodbye. I still miss them. But I was not an attentive granddaughter once I turned 18 and headed off to college. And I still regret it.
In my defense, we didn’t have cell phones or the ability to text. I went four months without talking to my parents when they were in California one winter and I was in my early 20s. Long-distance calls were expensive, and it seems they weren’t all that interested in talking to me either.
Now we have plenty of ways of reaching out, and, still, only one of my four grandchildren does with any regularity. Maybe once a month.
I know they lead busy lives. Have lots on their minds. I get it. Sixty years after the fact, I’m getting a little payback for being so self-focused. Their time will come.
Even so, I was surprised not to hear from any of them when my man and I were going through the fifth worst hurricane in the history of the United States. It’s not like we were in the middle of it. We wisely evacuated to the east coast two days before it struck. But it was scary and unsettling. And when we returned there was immense devastation.
It would have been nice to get a text saying: “Oh, wow, glad you are safe.” Or “Hope you guys are okay. Did you have any damage?”
I know they can text because they always respond when I ask them what they want for their birthdays or Christmas.
The only child that suffered through the storm with us was my daughter who insisted we were hiding something awful to protect her.
“Seriously, the places around us we love were destroyed, but we are okay. Please don’t worry,” I texted her. Without good cell coverage and no Internet that was the best I could do. But I definitely appreciated her concern.
I’m sure she and my youngest son passed that information on to their children, which is why my grandchildren didn’t worry or feel the need to inquire. Right?
Knowing my situation and hearing similar tales from my friends about their families, I had a good laugh when I saw a story on the newsfeed today about a grandmother who ranks her ten grandchildren. They move up and down on the list depending on their actions – and apparently the number of tattoos they have on their bodies.
I wouldn’t dare be that blatant. But I do keep a mental score on who says thank you or responds immediately to my texts. And who seems glad to see me – or at least acts like it – when we get together on rare occasions. When it comes to Christmas and birthdays, their gifts reflect their good deeds or lack of them. With me, communication counts.
I don’t see myself as being mean or spiteful. I’m just trying to save my grandchildren from their future karma.