Dear Grandma and Grandpa [you know who you are]
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
When I was little, I thought the world of you. You snuck me spoonfuls of peanut butter and gave me coffee when my parents weren’t around. I looked forward to sleepovers at your house, even though you didn’t have cable [this was pre-internet] because I actually liked spending time with you. I liked how I felt when I came to your house, sitting at the kitchen table, watching you make me potato pancakes; like there was nothing I would ever need to worry about.
But I grew up. I learned a lesson both of my two older cousins had learned the hard way; each independently from other: You love your granddaughters more than you love your grandsons, but you only truly love them one at a time.
For a long time, I was the one to be; I was the favourite. I didn’t realize I had taken over the title and I didn’t realize that it came with an expiration date.
I sometimes wonder if my younger cousin hadn’t come along, if I would still be your favourite. But I guess you’ve got great granddaughters to love more now. I truly wonder what will happen when new baby girls stop coming into your life.
But then again, I don’t wonder that often. You don’t cross my mind that often, to be honest.
How long has it been since we’ve spoken now? 7 years? More? I sometimes feel like my memories of you are just images in my head that I made up from something I’d read. Although I do remember the last family Christmas I attended at your house like it was yesterday….
My dad had long disowned his sisters and because of the divorce, you no longer welcomed my mom into your family. I was thankful that one of my aunts remembered to invite me. But only one.
It was uncomfortable and people weren’t particularly friendly with me, even though I was a blood relative to almost everyone in the house and had been for my entire life. For being such a gifty family, I was a bit confused when every other child in the house got presents, except me. I’ll remind you, I wasn’t the oldest.
After dinner, Grandpa, you pulled me aside in the alcove between the kitchen and the living room, just off the hallway. You pulled a crisp $50 from your pocket and put it in my hand. I honestly don’t remember you saying anything, but remembering back, the look on your face said it all.
It was a payoff.
I was being paid to eliminate myself from future family events for the cost of $50. Had I realized it at the time, I would have asked for more.
I know my father was your son but if it weren’t for my mother, you wouldn’t have had much of a relationship with me at all. My mother truly valued you both and encouraged your participation in how I was raised. She knew all along that my time to be loved by you was limited, but she encouraged it anyway because, after all, you were my grandparents and every little girl deserves to have a relationship with her grandparents for as long as time allows.
I remember when I was in university, my mom called to tell me you, Grandma, had slipped in the parking lot of the mall and had hurt yourself in the fall. I remember a few weeks later, my mom calling me back to tell me that she’d read a letter in the local newspaper written by you to the people who had helped you when you fell. I still have the letter tucked away in a box in my apartment because that letter represents something to me. It reminds me, in times of weakness and of sorrow, in times of guilt and longing, that you, Grandma, are one of the most selfish people I have ever met. You took the time to write that letter. You made the effort to send it to the newspaper, to have it published. In the probably 30 minutes it took you to write that letter, you made more effort for those complete strangers than you did with me my entire life.
It grounds my hatred in reality.
Any news I hear about you both comes from someone who told someone else who eventually told my mother. I think, even after all you have put us both through, she still wants me to know how you’re doing because, like I said earlier, you are my grandparents.
But as many concerning things as I have heard about the state of your health, I just can’t make myself care anymore.
You, Grandma, were married before you married Grandpa but you pretend as if it didn’t happen. You, Grandpa, can’t admit that your daughter was dating a man who robbed a convenience store with a fake gun or that one of your grandson’s is gay. You are both bigots, racists, and are prejudice against so many people and things, and for all the years I looked up to you as a child, I am so thankful that I didn’t end up anything like either of you.
With all my heart and every inch of my soul,
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