HA! I just realized that almost all my “titles” have included question marks. What’s up with that?
No. For reals. Why do I do that?
I’m working on what this blog will be “all about.” If you know me, even a baby bit, you know I’m kinda all over the place. I don’t necessarily stay on topic, I relate a bunch of weird things into a conversation, and I prefer to use humor and insert lines from songs as my primary way to communicate. So, I’m brainstorming about my niche (which scares the shit out of me). We will see where this thing goes…
But for today!
I send my grandmother 2 Hallmark cards each month. And these are the expensive ones. Since I was little, my dad would always flip a greeting / birthday / sympathy card over and to all present, announce how much was spent on the card. I think he discovered one time that the price was on the back and happened to be delighted by the knowing. When we rolled our eyes and groaned, it solidified this activity as something that should always take place when someone opens a card in his presence. Because, you know, the cards all get passed around.
And what’s up with that tradition, right? Like at a shower, the girl / couple opens a card, reads it aloud, and then proceeds to pass it around the circle of gift givers. Do you think other people look at the price on the back at those things? I totally judge. And so does my dad. So I send expensive ones so he gets big eyes and says, “well.”
So, I send my 98-year-old grandmother 2 cards each month for a couple of reasons. One, she’s 98 and lives in a facility and hello, no one sends her mail! She loves getting cards addressed to Mrs. John A. Bolt. It makes me smile just to write it on the envelope. Two, this was a woman who LOVED her some paper goods. Mainly fancy paper napkins. She entertained the “girls” once a week for Canasta (look it up, it’s seriously a great card game but it’s pretty complicated so you probably shouldn’t be drinking when you try it the first few times…). She was SO geeked to have new napkins for each event – the girls always noticed you know. Have you ever used these kinds of fancy-dancy-nancy napkins? I don’t think they really even work – I mean, it’s like they’re the thinnest cardboard that will bend / fold which absorbs like 2% of the liquid they come into contact with. Whatever, she loved them. The cards are the new napkins. She can fawn over the picture, set it up on her nightstand (now that she’s got quite a rotation going, the nurses comment and I think she loves the attention), AND she makes my dad read them to her. Multiple times. Like, over and over again. (she’s not illiterate silly, she’s nearly blind! but can still kick yo a$$ at Skip-Bo).
Of course I love my grandmother and have fond memories of her. It breaks my heart that she had to see her DIL die before her. She’s seen so many of her friends / contemporaries pass on. She only has my dad as family left. She outlived her brother. Those are all reasons I send her cards. But then I realized, I had an additional reason. This wasn’t all out of the goodness of my heart. This was one more way to say “middle fingers up, put ’em hands high, wave it in his face.” (google it)
I realized the more I wrote, the longer my dad would have to be reading – deciphering my sloppy-ass got a D in penmanship handwriting cursive, over and over again. Multiple times in one visit. (and the first time I realized this I was ROLLING with laughter) So then I started writing super “girly” things – things that I knew he’s be annoyed with having to read aloud – like what wedding flowers I had and does she remember hers? Can she describe them, right now? Or I would go on and on about how I saw Queen Anne’s Lace for sale at the grocery store – and wasn’t that something – we thought of QAL as a weed to eradicate and now it’s being sold for $7 a bunch? Why, people should just let their lawns go to seed and harvest the QAL and who knows what else and sell it!
I have this theory that I was born with both middle fingers up. Not just to my parents… But, they were the ones who were around the most, you know? And I realize that a lot of my actions, even with strangers, are motivated by this little impish giggling girl within that just wants to poke. Just poke a little. A little. Just enough to maybe make the other person laugh a little? Maybe? Or for them to realize I’m totally messing with them? Poke. That’s all it is. Poking. Just for fun. Because what’s all this if we can’t have fun?
btw – My Grandmother can barely hear so calling her on the phone is pointless. Oh, and she’s like never in her room because they keep the “inmates” busy with activities and such all day. Really, it’s like the least worst facility. Totally doesn’t smell like pee. I remember her having piles of cards tucked away in her desk or upstairs in the attic. She loved to keep cards. I just want to make a couple of days a little brighter. Tell her what’s going on here. What I think about. Ask her what she thinks about. Wonder to her. To know that she will have a big smile and say “oh, for heaven’s sake” when the nurse brings her a card warms my heart and makes me tear up.
And bonus that my dad has to read the cards repeatedly and store them. Hey, at least I’m not sending her flowers and plants, dad!