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Being A Nana Is A Thankless Job

, , , , , , | Related | December 27, 2020

When my grandmother is still alive, she sends my daughters Christmas presents in the mail. Because she lives in Great Britain and I live in Canada, she’s always anxious about whether or not they arrived successfully. Every year, without fail, I can count on my mum saying this to me around December 27.

Mum: “Nana says she hasn’t gotten a thank-you letter from you yet for the girls’ gifts.”

Then, depending on the situation, my reply is one of the following:

Me: “Christmas was only two days ago; I haven’t had a chance to write a letter yet, but I will.”

Me: “I sent her a thank-you letter immediately, but it’ll take a while to get there.”

Me: “I haven’t actually received the parcel yet. I promise to thank her as soon as I get it.”

One year, Christmas comes and goes without a parcel from Nana. I don’t think anything of it; I think perhaps she didn’t bother to send one. Then, around mid-January, Mum calls me:

Mum: “Nana says you haven’t thanked her for the girls’ Christmas presents!”

Me: “But—”

Mum: “It’s really too bad of you. You know how upset she gets if you don’t thank her.”

Me: “But—”

Mum: “All she wants is to know they arrived safely. Is that too much to ask?”

Me: “But Mum, they didn’t arrive safely. They didn’t arrive at all.”

Mum: *Pause* “Are you sure? She said she mailed them in early November.”

Me: “I’m absolutely sure.”

Mum: “Hmm. Okay, I’ll tell her.”

Finally, the parcel arrived in April, and I realized why it had taken so long. Nana had completely botched my address — so much so that it was a miracle the package arrived at all. That was when we knew that old age was taking its toll. I promptly sent her a thank-you letter, of course.

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