Monday, October 6, 2008

Gram's 87th

Ruby, Gram and my mom (on the phone)

Yesterday was my Gram's birthday. Ruby, Haley and I happened to be in ABQ to drop off my niece and decided to see if we could stop by for a bit. We chatted and had coffee and a yummy chocolate mousse cake I bought on the way there. Gram is 87 now. It's crazy to think about it. As long as I can remember, Gram has been the queen of diplomacy (even when it just chaps her hide to do so!) and she has taught me a few things. Lately, I've been contemplating the possibility of personality traits being inherited, as I seem to have a few tendencies the same as my ancestors (that of being totally chicken of conflict, among other things).

I was thinking about this in regard to something totally unrelated. While working on my last birth story (it's close to being finished, but I make no promises on when) I realized that at least to some extent, My emotional signposts are hard to read (mostly because it appears I do not have them). I often do not look as though I feel a certain way because of a probably-long list of ancestors who also hide true feelings behind a brave or "nice" face. So I have to share a story of my Gram that will help you see the diplomatic-till-it-kills-you attitude I think my mom and I (and probably at least a few siblings--care to share?) have inherited. [Disclaimer: I don't mean to imply that I've never offended anyone. A quick read of my last post will probably help squelch this idea.]

My mom and grandma are "feeling-hiders." My mom never was sick when I was growing up—not because she wasn’t sick, but because she couldn’t be: there was no option in her mind. Too many responsibilities. So she just toughed out colds or the flu: shuffling around, homeschooling, making dinner and the like. It wasn’t till I was older (and became a mom myself!) that I realized not all moms are like that. She labored like this: “Ow”. . . (breathe) “Ooowwww”. . . (breathe). . .(utter silence). . .(breathe). . .(looking like she’s asleep). . . (breathe). (Can you guess why I didn’t want my mom to be at my first labor? I knew she wouldn’t be comparing me to her, but I sure would be, and I was almost certain I would not be able to labor that way!)

I had a "HUH?!" moment in the emergency room once with my grandma (who was bleeding internally: throwing up blood, passing it, etc.—not doing well at all). It was the middle of the night and we had been there for a couple of hours, waiting for an ambulance to transfer us to the big hospital, all the while nurses were poking and prodding almost every orifice—and making new ones. I mean things like I.V.s, blood draws, pushing a tube down her throat in order to get stomach contents (“Swallow.” “Swallow.” “Swallow.” “Good, there we go.”) and rectal exams. Not fun stuff. I can’t imagine what a terrible experience that was for my grandma. How would I do in such a situation? Well, here’s my Gram: a nurse walks in to check on her vital signs and Gram (ever the gracious hostess) says, “Is there anything I can get for you?”. . . WHAT?!? I heard her say something similar to another nurse the next day. It cracks me up and blows me away at the same time. I guess it runs in the family to pretend like everything’s fine when you feel like you just might die. Wouldn’t want to let anyone know what’s really going on now, would we?

Haley kept laughing for Gram. It's a real treat, since not many people can get her to laugh.

Sorry about the naked cherub. That's been around almost as long as Gram.

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