Click Here To Learn More About Jinny Anderson
People keep telling me it’s never too late to change. By change, they mean behavior. I can’t help feeling it’s almost impossible, depending upon age. They keep insisting it isn’t.
Lately, I’ve been getting into trouble by speaking out of turn. To be more specific, for saying what’s on my mind, no matter how inappropriate the time. In other words, for not being silent when I should be.
My difficulty seems to be in dealings with two of my grand daughters. Everything seemed to be fine until they grew up, and I mean becoming grown ups – in their twenties. We actually had fewer problems when they were teenagers.
I recently read an article about the problems many of today’s young people are having growing up. It’s bad enough for the coinage of a new term – “twentyagers”. More and more young people are living at home past the time when they used to leave, or they are coming back after a brief experience in living in the adult world. There are not so many “empty nests” as “crowded nests”.
My personal problem is learning how to deal with this without getting in hot water. Grandmothers are supposed to be sweet, loveable people. I’m becoming more like Snow White’s stepmother. This is making me and everyone else, miserable, especially me. I’m a doting, loving grandparent; or, at least I want to be. I thought I was.
My son says I’m rude. My daughter says I’m opinionated. My daughter-in-law, whom I truly love, when I ventured that it’s my age, kindly pointed out that I’ve been the same since we first met. They’re right. How’s that for a poke in the eye with a sharp stick?
Sometimes I’m teasing. I was raised in a household with four brothers and learned early about teasing – how to take it and, unfortunately, how to give it out. There are times when that’s what I’m doing, without consideration for the other person’s possible reaction. I’ve learned that males are better at it than females.
Most of the time however, I do not control my reactions. I do verbal double takes. This is not a good idea. It’s never good enough to try to weasel out of a hot spot by professing apologies when everyone thinks you mean what you say and just didn’t mean to say it aloud.
The trouble is, I have an opinion on everything. There’s no such thing as a neutral or iffy feeling in my makeup. If the feeling has a super strong reaction, I just blurt it out.
This is not always a bad thing. At a meeting, say political, with speech making, I never hesitate at the open forum session, to ask any question and demand an answer. If a witness to an injustice, I jump right in on the part of the victim, even if it’s a street fight. I’ve done these things many times during my life. There’s no thought of consequences. There’s no thought – just a knee jerk response.
In the case of my young female relatives, it’s been more of a jerk’s response. Here’s an example. Recently, at one of the girls’ 27th birthday party, she unwrapped a present from her Mom. It was obviously a large, wrapped, framed poster. When she tore off the wrapping, I was expecting a beautiful work of art, or some such. It was, however, a picture of Marilyn Monroe, who, it turns out, is one of her favorite people. So, what do I blurt out? “Couldn’t you find a painting of Mother Theresa?”
This is a child I dearly love. She is my first born grandchild. We’ve always had a special relationship. She is very sensitive, and I would never deliberately hurt her feelings, but, of course, I did.
I can’t remember what I said to the other child, but I remember her reaction. She was angry.
The family has jumped all over my case and I feel justifiably chastised. Now, I live with the fear that it will happen again or that I’m really slipping into a caricature like the Grandma on Golden Girls. Of course, it’s been pointed out to me by everyone that I’m not slipping into dementia. I’ve been there since the day I was born. Small comfort.
Would you like to read past issues of That's Life? Click Here