THANK-GOD FOR OTHER GRANDMOTHERS.....
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES/aka GRANNY GEE
I should have known, though an uneasy thought flitted through my mind... only for a brief moment. I pushed it away. I'm not one who goes looking for omens... though sometimes, I really think we may get them in our lives.
I think the reason I felt what I did was because at my granddaughter's birth, September 05, 2000.... the other grandmother 'made it bad' with her actions when we went to the hospital. It was a happy-sad event for me.
After Taban's birth, Skip and I went to Walgreen's Pharmacy to get a special balloon to take later back to the hospital. A special blue balloon that said 'IT'S A BOY'! As we walked outside I was happily talking about Taban... how I could 'see' Tommy in him! Do you know what happened?
That balloon floated out of my hand .... (sometimes, my hands will 'let go' and I think it comes from the surgeries I had ... for each hand). Skip and I stood there with such shock... watching that blue, silvery balloon float so far up until it was a tiny, shiny spot in the air. I said to Skip... 'Oh no! I hope this isn't a bad sign!' I worried that it might mean something in the future to hurt me.... never believing for a moment it was. I knew Tommy was fine, I knew Taban's mother and I had a good relationship... everything was alright. Taban's other grandmother didn't resent me... she was a nice person.
For three years all was fine... you all know what happened. Tommy died, and I no longer see Taban... he no longer cares for his Granny Gee if he does see me. He doesn't know Tommy wanted me to be very special in his life... Tommy 'named me Granny Gee for Taban'.
I'm Granny Gee, not the grandmother you would know.... I'm one in name only. Just as I am mother in name only. It's like a box.... look inside... there's nothing. I am that box... my insides are ... empty..... when it comes to being mother, grandmother.
On March 16, 2007, the day my grandson was born, I was so happy. A real grandson.... I was so awed to think 'I would be grandmother to a little boy'. I felt the same way when my granddaughter was born. I went so many years without grandchildren... I didn't think it possible to ever be a ... grandmother. Sadly enough... I am 'grandmother/Granny Gee' in name only today. Also, I am only a 'mother' in name only... my son is gone.
I was wanted at my grandson's birth... I was honored. I stood there with his other grandmother while he was being born. How special is that? His other grandmother was very gracious, she would smile at me as if she 'knew somehow'... how meaningful being there was for me.
This grandmother, Taban's other grandmother... has always been gracious to me. She's always treated me very nice... I have nothing but, respect and liking for her. She never treated me in a way to make me think she wanted to be the only grandmother. Taban's mother... has a good mother. I'm glad she's Taban's grandmother. I didn't get to know her well either, but... enough to know she's a 'good' person. Today... I can only say 'I like you, Taban's other grandmother'... you ARE a good grandmother... I'm glad you are there for him.
I think McKenzie's other grandmother is a good person too... I think her own problems 'got in the way' of her 'really seeing me as a person'. I'd like to think that. I could see she could be a nice person when she smiled one time when we visited them... her voice was happy at that time... I liked her. That was the only time I ever saw that. Again.... she was like so many people..... one time when they see you, they 'smile and like you'.......... the next time seeing you..... 'cold eyes and I dislike you expression'. I have no time for such people... I grew up with 'family' just like that... if they weren't happy... they didn't want anyone else to be happy. If they were happy, they expected you to be happy for them... got mad if you weren't. Crazy....
I will say this in all fairness... I'm thankful McKenzie has her other grandmother. She is a good person in her life, community, church. She loves McKenzie... and she would fight for her just as her mother would. My grandddaughter has a good family support... I'm so thankful for that. No matter that I'm not liked.... this is what matters to me.
I wasn't wanted by my granddaughter's mother at my granddaughter's birth. We were called to come... and got the cold shoulder from her..... her actions... made sure to let me know she was 'grandmother'... she guarded that position well. Why did she feel the need to act like she did? I surely wasn't a threat to anyone. I'm always quiet, I step back from any public scene ....unless... I'm pushed to the breaking point... then, I will hold my ground in the quietest way.
In that situation, I stayed very gracious, smiling quietly until we 'could just get away'. On the inside... no one knew the pain I was feeling... this was 'my very own little granddaughter, I had a 'real' grandchild'! I wasn't welcomed to be there. I didn't choose to fight over it... I would have appeared to be 'bad'. The other grandmother 'had taken over to the point' that she was in scrubs and doing things like the nurses were doing'... she wasn't a nurse. Skip told me then... that he didn't believe that woman liked me. I remember asking 'why'?
It was the strangest thing... Skip and I didn't know her or her husband at all... in fact, all I knew about that grandmother were only brief moments seeing, hearing her. I didn't know her well enough to form a real opinion of her. All I saw was negative... I only read negative, mean things from her on my computer that she emailed me.... I may have seen her smile several times, though it is hard to remember that. Her husband always seemed so kind to us. Skip liked him... at one time, Tommy thought the world of him.
This lady seemed to strike out at me... never knowing anything about me. I did let her know quietly in emails in kind words that she couldn't just do that to me. She would write back apologizing that she was just homesick for Georgia, and apologized for writing me mean emails. She would do it again, and again.
McKenzie's mother had minor surgery... I couldn't go to her to help... I was taking chemotherapy, my body and mind were exhausted... my hands were like rubber... my legs didn't have the strength to go anywhere. It was an effort to go to all my appointments.
Skip had to help me walk... 'only when we saw someone I knew' would he step back and 'let me walk by myself'... because he 'knew' my need to 'appear strong' to everyone. I've done this since being a child.... maybe it's my protection to show people I'm not 'weak'... I'm not even when I'm weak!
I am a fighter.. I mean to win. When I say that, I don't mean in 'bad' ways'... I'm not a brawler (but, I would be to protect someone I loved, or the 'underdog'! I don't mean to sound ugly... but, Granny Gee would 'whip ass'!). :))) I had to say that! The devil made me do it! (I might be the one who got whipped, though!).
This woman, the other grandmother emailed asking me 'when are YOU going to come to help me take care of _____'? She, also, said some more things meant to make me feel bad because I hadn't come to help change the dressing on my granddaughter's mother's surgical incision. I sat there once again ...stunned. When Skip got home I showed him the printed-out email. (I printed quite a few out from her). He read it in disbelief.... and wondered aloud ...' doesn't she know what you are going through'?
I don't think that woman had any idea of how sick I was... whenever she saw me ...... she saw a 'strong person'.... 'just what I meant for her to see'. So, really................. maybe it's my fault that I didn't tell her anything... rarely did I discuss my illness with anyone. I have always been private, I've always kept things to myself. So really.......... how could she have known?
Writing this out now... has helped me to see that. I don't hold hard feelings toward her anymore........... truthfully.... I hated her all these years. Just in the last few minutes.... I felt sorry that I never really talked to her, and told her what was going on in my life, how sick I was. At that time, I may have assumed.... she knew. I do that.... sometimes. 'Seeing her in my mind'... I think she was missing her hometown, family... maybe lonely, sad? I, now, wonder 'why didn't I see that... and care'? I may have made a friend.
I always accepted her apology. I was too sick to think about her... I was fighting the battle of my life... for my life. She was always like a 'thorn pricking at me'... during that time. I look back at that time.... and each time I do... I shook my head... 'why'?
This was the second time in one year I went back for major surgery ... I didn't stay in 'remission' very long..... weeks? This woman didn't know any of these things. I had gone through so much more than words here can say... to live. My body suffered so much, my mind... I was fighting to be well and doing a good job at it.... until I went back for a CT scan. For the second time.... I had to do it all 'all over again'.
Before this ... I had a fruit and produce store... she came with her daughter (my son's girlfriend, granddaughter's mother at that time though at that time she wasn't expecting her...................................................). I remember this woman walking in the store, she and my son's girlfriend walked to the other door to stand and admire Tommy's sports car. I heard both begin to argue in a 'good-natured way'... 'that's MY car'! I think Skip had driven it to the store as Tommy was on the road, driving a big rig.
I'm sorry to say that didn't make a good impression on me from the beginning. I may have 'judged too quickly'... she may have seen that I didn't like hearing them... making her not like me. I honestly don't know.
I think his daughter's wife became a very good wife, person when she remarried soon after hers and Tommy's divorce. She was so young at the time they married. That's not to say she wasn't a good person before she and Tommy married. I never got to know her well.... I was on another journey in my life fighting my illness... even when around her when they came. I didn't have the opportunity to know her at all. Though... I had enough time to know that I loved her very much... I felt it in my heart... no matter the times I felt anger toward her. I'm the same way about my grandson's mother. I do love them... whether any of us like it or not...we are forever 'linked' to the other because their children are ... a part of me... a part of Tommy.
All I've heard from people I know in that area they live at... she's always busy in community things, church, and I've heard this ......... and I love it! I hear people say... 'she's a damn good mother'! I 'knew' that, though. She loves her child. Not only that, her husband loves McKenzie... he's been a good father through time to her. Tommy honestly liked and respected him. I never worry about McKenzie... she's got a good family life.
Getting back to sitting there at my computer reading in shock her words.... my body was very weak, my fingers were like rubber, my mind was foggy... from the chemotherapy drugs. This woman was striking out at me from her own unhappiness... saying things that hurt me... this woman didn't know me well enough to do such a thing.
I was too weak to fight back. The saying that one has to pick their battles... my choice was to live. I didn't know this woman at all.
I never knew that lady... she constantly said mean things in emails to me ... I was too sick to understand 'why' she didn't like me. This lady never knew me well enough to know she was being unfair to me... I will write about this later. Through time ... I never got to know her anymore than she ever knew me..
I can only write what I personally know 'that affected my life and gave me such grief' at a time... any normal person would have left someone alone. I don't think she even knew I was fighting to live, going chemotherapy, had major surgery... I think maybe she saw a scapegoat.
Sick or not sick, I'm not anyone's scapegoat... though I stay quiet, smile, and forgive... I'm the last person to be a 'weakling'... I was brought up to 'fight' to survive verbal, mental, physical abuse.
Another thing about me that only Tommy and Skip knew... no one else knows this..... when I am the most sick, I never let other see me 'being weak'. I pretend to be much stronger than I am... I make myself 'walk taller, stand taller, head up... all my actions are deliberate'.
I have done this many times to hear remarks of 'wow, she doesn't look like she's dying', 'you sure are looking so much better'! I see humor now, in this because... it's like a cartoon. When I got out of sight of those people, I would 'fall apart' from 'holding on so long to appear strong'. How many times did I do this?
I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me. It's really funny if you think about it for a moment. No one knew the agony I was suffering, the pain.... I looked so strong. When they went away... I would just fall back in my seat as soon as I could get to one, close my eyes with tears falling.... it hurt so bad to be strong. It 'still does'... though I'm not battling for my life in that respect now. I can still see the 'humor in things, no matter how bad'... a soft, gentle humor that isn't meant to hurt.
I battle 'now' to stay out of the darkness of grief that threatens to engulf me at any moment... unexpectedly. I'm strong... though I may find myself on that path at any time... I know how to come back now... I follow the light, the colors of life back to where I need to be. Everything really is going to be alright.
When my granddaughter was born... the only moment I felt happiness at that hospital... was when I looked through the window... I was a stranger, the other grandmother made me feel this...
I looked at my beautiful granddaughter. She had a little striped cap on her head, she looked like her mother when she was first born. I loved her mother... but, of course.... the other grandmother didn't know that... she didn't know me. I voiced how beautiful McKenzie was, and how much she looked at her mother. She was so special, beautiful.... I was in awe.
The specialness of that occasion was 'taken away'.....when I saw the other grandmother become angry... because I say my granddaughter looked like her mother! At that time..... I couldn't understand it. Remember this... I'm always 'connecting dots'... through time. The 'whole picture' reveals itself eventually.......... I love 'dots'.....
The nurse was quick to come tell Skip and I that the other grandmother said we weren't to come back to our granddaughter's mother's room, that 'you have to leave now'. The shock and upset I felt..... 'thank-you for telling us, we'll leave now'... I said quietly. I held my head up, walked tall, strong... until I was out of sight. I 'fell apart' in the car. 'Why'? Our granddaughter's mother told us these words.... 'I want you to be there'....
The other grandmother had taken control at the hospital... so much so, that she'd gotten a nurse (I think a friend of hers) to let her don some scrubs to look like a nurse.... to 'help with the birthing. She made a big production when we first saw her through the glass. I didn't recognize her at first... I didn't know this woman...... 'anymore than I knew her as the other grandmother'. That's how well we knew each other... it never went any farther than that.
Granny Gee... other grandmothers..... I had them on my mind this morning... thinking I'm so glad that they are there for my grandchildren. I am not jealous, angry, or even upset that I don't see them. I've dealt with this now... I have peace inside.
I have learned that 'grandmothers' who happen to be the 'son's mother'... aren't the most important grandmother. It's the 'daughter's mother' who is dominant. It stands to reason... mothers are the ones who give birth to children. I 'see' that now... I have been seeing this for quite sometime. I wonder how many people who read this... realize how true my words are? Maybe... I'm the last person to learn this.
Regardless.... thank-God for 'other grandmothers'... from Granny Gee's heart.