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Aren’t There More Important Things To Worry About?!

, , , | Related | August 21, 2021

My grandma is notorious for judging how we look and what we wear. She doesn’t get outright confrontational, but she comments all the time in a way which is sometimes “funny” — which it really isn’t — or “questioning” why we wear something, which is really just supposed to tell us she hates it. I would love to answer wittily, but I can never think of a good comeback fast enough. It has gone so far that my brother wears his most worn-out clothes whenever he is visiting Grandma to show her he won’t give in to her. Some of her comments go like this.

We were wearing camouflage pants.

Grandma: “Oh, you look so funny with your colourful pants!”

This is “Grandma” for “I don’t like that.”

Another time, I got a black piercing in my eyebrow.

Grandma: “Oh, did you get a piercing?”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Grandma: “Oh, I was about to say you have a tick on your face.”

Cue me intentionally not reacting.

Grandma: “But you’re taking that back out, right?”

Me: “No, I’m not. I didn’t get this just to get rid of it again.”

The best and most memorable moment was the day of my brother’s wedding. In Germany, if you want to marry in church, you first have to do a legal wedding with a state-issued official. Most people who have their “big day” in church don’t dress up as fancily for the legal wedding as they do for church. My sister-in-law, for example, wore black pants, nice but sporty shoes, and a colourful shirt with flowers in it. Of course, this was not fancy enough for good old Grandma. However, my sister-in-law doesn’t take s***. When Grandma saw her after getting dressed, she tried one of her questions again, looking her up and down.

Grandma: “Oh, are you ready already?”

My sister-in-law was not having it.

Sister-In-Law: “Yes. And [Brother] will marry me like this, too!”

It’s been three years since the wedding and I still draw on that awesome comeback.

Being Eight Is Really Hard, Okay?!

, , , , , , | Related | August 11, 2021

My husband and I go out to lunch with some of his family members. His grandmother, who is in her nineties and still sharp as a tack, orders a glass of wine. She drinks maybe a third of it before accidentally knocking over the glass. It doesn’t break, but the wine spills into the lap of my cousin-in-law’s daughter, who is about eight.

We flag the server over to alert her. While the server is mopping up the spill, she knocks the wine glass over and the rest of it — you guessed it — splashes the same poor kid AGAIN. We all start laughing at the unfortunate coincidence while the girl sits glumly in her chair, her lap soaking wet.

My cousin-in-law shakes her head.

Cousin-In-Law: “I really hope I don’t get pulled over on the way home. I don’t want to have to explain why my kid smells like booze.”

She didn’t get stopped, thankfully.

So Much For A Grandma’s Love

, , , , | Related | August 9, 2021

My grandmother has two biological children: my dad and his younger brother. When her sons were in their teens, my grandmother got remarried to a man who also had two sons from his previous marriage that are pretty close in age to my dad and uncle. It’s also important to note here that she has several grandchildren; however, I am her only biological one because I’m an only child and my bio-uncle never had any kids. I was also raised to be very close to the daughter of one of my step-uncles since we’re only a few months apart in age.

When I’m about eight, my grandmother decides to plan a summer trip to visit the Mouse.

Me: “Can we bring [Cousin], too, Maw Maw?

Grandmother: “No, it’s just going to be the two of us.”

Me: “Why not? She’s going to be upset; she’s never been and I’ve already been once. And, wouldn’t it be more fun?”

Grandmother: “Because she’s not really one of us. That’s something you really should start to realize now that you’re getting to be a big boy. I don’t know why [Dad] ever raised you so close to them to begin with. Anyway, I just want to spend some time with my grandson before you stop wanting to spend time with me.”

This was definitely not the last remark she made about my step-cousins, and it wasn’t long after this that she started putting more pressure on me by calling me her “only grandchild,” and she wonders why I never go out of my way to spend time with her anymore. I can’t wait until I can get to a point where I can safely cut her off completely. And, yes, my cousin and I are still very close!

We Wouldn’t Want Any Of This Grandma’s Cookies

, , , , , | Friendly | August 5, 2021

It is my brother’s tenth birthday, and we’ve decided to hold a surprise party. My dad wants everyone out of the house so he can set it up, so while my mom takes my brother and his friends to the movies, I take my seven-year-old sister to the toy store to buy a present. My sister is an above-the-knee amputee. We are in the board games area when a little boy walks up to us.

Boy: “Wow! Do you have a robotic leg or something? That’s so cool! How does it work? Do you send your brainwaves down and control it, or are you like a cyborg or an android or something?”

Sister: “No, it’s not a robot. It’s just kind of… there.”

Boy: “How does it work, then?”

Sister: “I just move my thigh, and then the mechanical knee and leg move with it.”

Boy: “Oh, that’s cool. Do you go to [Elementary School]?”

My sister nods.

Boy: “Are you gonna be in third grade in September?”

My sister nods.

Boy: “Oh, cool! So am I! I just moved here from [State], and it’s really cool here. My name is [Boy]. What’s yours?”

Sister: “[Sister].”

The boy’s grandmother comes in.

Grandmother: “Are you making friends, [Boy]? That’s good. It’s good to make friends before the school year.”

She pauses, and then she realizes my sister has a prosthetic leg.

Grandmother: “Now, dear, remember what I told you about people like her. You don’t want to be friends with people like her, or else you’ll end up wearing noise-cancelling headphones and with two r*****ed legs.”

Me: “I don’t really think you understand how physical disabilities work. I don’t think you understand how disabilities work at all.”

Grandmother: “I’ll tell you what I do understand. If my daughter turned out r*****ed, I’d have her put up for adoption rather than poison the rest of the family. You seem like a sensible teenage boy; you understand.”

My sister looks like she’s about to cry.

Me: “Well, someone did put her up for adoption. They didn’t want a girl missing one leg. But we adopted her, and she’s the best little sister I could have ever had. Adopting her is the best decision our parents made.”

Grandmother: “You know what?! I don’t need to put up with this. Come on, dear. We’ll get your toys somewhere else where there aren’t so many r*****s.”

Boy: “Bye, [Sister]! See you at school!”

Grandmother: “And I’ll be having a talk with your mother about what types of people you make friends with.”

My sister is pretty upset about the whole situation, but I am able to calm her down enough that we can buy the present.

Manager: “Is that card game for you?”

My sister shakes her head.

Manager: “Oh, I see. In that case, I’m going to do something that I don’t do very often. I only do this for the most awesome customers, but I think you’ve shown that you’re one of them. I’m going to give you a $10 gift card for our store. You can go now and buy anything you want for $10 in this store, and then you come here and I’ll activate the card for you. Sound good?”

My sister was shocked at first but soon became extremely elated at the gift. She was so excited that, even on the bus ride home after buying her gift, she wouldn’t stop talking. The gift really did a great deal for her mood and to cheer her up after what the woman had said. She didn’t ever end up becoming great friends with the boy, but she told me she talked to him once or twice and he said that his grandmother is no longer allowed to be alone with him or his cousins.

This story is part of our Best Of August 2021 roundup!

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War Will Leave You Cold

, , , | Related | August 4, 2021

My grandmother, having been through two wars, was unbelievably thrifty and would not throw away anything until it was so worn that it couldn’t be mended any further. And, of course, nothing new could be put into use as long as the old stuff had some mileage still in it.

I always suffered from cold feet. I have some woollen “bedshoes” that belonged to my mother, crocheted in a honeycomb style that leaves most of my skin exposed and does nothing for the cold.

An elderly aunt, staying with us for a while, knits me a magnificent pair of bedshoes: fully enclosed, ankle-high, thick, and warm. I profusely thank my aunt and start wearing her bedshoes.

A few days later, after my aunt is back with her family, I’m asleep in bed. I wake up with a start, in pitch darkness. My covers are lifted and there’s someone in the room, hovering above me. Bogeyman? Wild bear? Kidnapper? No, it’s my grandmother, replacing my bedshoes with the old ones at two in the morning and scaring me to death in the process!

She tells me to shut up (which I do — she’s already positioned to slap the bejeezus out of me if I don’t comply), takes away the warm bedshoes, and goes back to sleep.

The following weeks are an endless game of hide and seek with the bedshoes between the two of us until, at last, summer comes. Being a small child, I eventually forget about the bedshoes until years later, after my grandmother is long dead and we find them in their last hiding place, too small for my feet by now, and completely disintegrated. It’s a small relief to know that at least the moths enjoyed the bedshoes undisturbed.