Thursday, January 28, 2010


My mom and I were at my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving. It was 1995. I remember standing in the bathroom curling my hair when my grandpa started yelling at my mother. I don't remember putting down the curling iron or even making the conscious decision of leaving the bathroom, but I was done. I don't know where he was at in his tirade but I cut him off using the Roseanne tactic of whoever shouts loudest wins. I don't remember exactly how I started out but I know word for word how I finished. "Stop yelling at my mother. Do you think we want to see you? We don't want to see you. We tolerate you. We want to see Grandma. The only reason we see you is that you just happen to live in the same house!"

There were four grown women in that house and one old man that could barely get out of a chair. Two of those women were hiding in the kitchen (his wife and my aunt). My mother was unable to stand up for herself. Usually my grandpa saved it up for my grandma and we all sat and gnashed our teeth and just let him do it. I begged her on more than one occasion to allow me to step in and she forbade it because she had to live with him after I/we went home. This time he didn't go after grandma, who was off limits, he went after my mom and there were no rules saying I couldn't put him in his place and I took him to the mat. If you polled that house, I am not sure who was most surprised. I know he never forgave me for that day. That's okay. I can live with that.

Tick tock turn the clock. Eight years later I'm in a bad marriage that I am desperately trying to hold together for children that aren't mine (step children). My health is deteriorating accordingly and my mother says, in a desperate effort to get through to me, "Where's my gutsy girl?" Where indeed? I hung up the phone, walked into the bathroom, closed the door and examined the woman in the mirror, and started to cry. It was Grandma staring back at me. And my husband looked too much like Grandpa. He is now my ex-husband and to get back to myself I ended up saying some things that were mean but true. That's okay. I can live with that.

1 comment:

  1. You are right, this is an excellent post! In standing up for your mom, you also inadvertently stood up for your grandma. It is ok that your grandpa never forgave you. Sometimes the truth is difficult to hear, but more often than not, necessary. I am so glad that you were able to recognize when it was time to stand up for your mom, grandma and most importantly, later in life; for yourself!


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