Thursday, July 07, 2005

Please can I slap my grandma?!?!

I'm not still all hurt over Blogzie's. I just had tons of catch-up to do at work--yeah, sometimes they make me earn my paycheck. And then I had some family drama. Which I will post about.

A bit of background--we’re havin’ a big-ass family reunion in Michigan. I married my precious darlin’ L’Aile in Massachusetts on New Year’s Eve. We will be taking a side trip to see some of her relatives in Ontario for one day. My kid brother, the Dorkfish, married his precious darlin’ girl in Florida in March. My grandmother has never been all that nice to either of us. We are the oldest of her grandchildren by several years, but when the others started coming along, she made it pretty danged obvious that she liked them much better than us. (No, this isn’t the usual “They’re new and cute and helpless, so they need more attention” thing--we were happy to spoil our younger cousins, too. This is something different, I swear.) We’ve lived with it.

Well, my mom says the family portrait people are in cahoots with the family therapy people for a reason. Grandma wants a picture of all of us Cousins while we‘re in Michigan, a formal portrait. Dorkfish asked her if we could include our wives, as all the Cousins accept them as being part of “us“. To him, she said, “Does she still wear that trashy eye makeup? No, I don’t want pictures of your wife, just my grandkids.” Grandma has made no secret of her feelings that my SIL is “trashy” and not pretty enough and not raised right. Mrs. Dorkfish wasn’t raised right, but she’s so financially responsible, has turned my brother’s financial life around, is a really hard worker, and most importantly, those two just adore and respect each other *so* much! My mom and I are so proud of her!

Then she calls me to tell me about her plan. I tell her I have a question--the question was going to be, “Can they airbrush my skin?” But to me, she said, “No, you can’t have your so-called spouse in the picture.”
“I wasn’t askin’,” I began.
“I do not want a picture of some skinny bald-headed dyke,” my grandma continued.
My wife started telling me to take down any pictures of my grandma; I waved her silent and quietly said, “Do you realize you’re on speakerphone?”
“Why didn’t you tell me that? This is a family conversation!”
“Yeah, and she’s my family, too, and I think you’ve just gone a little too far this time.”
“Tell your grandmother I can wear my cowboy hat and drink protein shakes,” L’Ailee said sarcastically.
“I don’t want any spouses or”--she seemed to choke on the word--”lovers in the picture. Just the grandkids.”
“Well, now you’ve got one less,” I said. She tried to guilt me; I told her that unless she could steer the conversation elsewhere, it was over. She did. We needed to iron out some logistics for the trip. And then Mrs. Dorkfish and L’Ailee compared notes. There are actually going to be *two* less grandkids in that picture.

Still with me? All this was Tuesday night. Let me tell y’all what happened last night.

She calls me again. That took nerve enough. But she wants me to ask L’Ailee a favor.
“Grandma,” I said as gently as I could, “I don’t think she’s in much of a favor-giving mood after last night.”
“Is she still upset that she can’t be in the picture?”
It does no good to remind her of the truth after she re-writes history in her head, so I didn’t try it. Instead, I said, “Grandma, please just say what you called to say.”
“Well, fine!” she huffed. “I’m just wondering if she can ask her cousin to join us, instead of [my 20-year-old girl cousin] having to go to Ontario.”
“Now he’s my cousin?” L’Ailee looked outraged. I decided to put on the speakerphone, telling my grandma I was doing it.

More background: My girl cousin and her 23-year-old boy cousin met at our wedding. They have been conducting a long-distance relationship since, falling ever deeper in love and visiting as often as they could, They’re even talking marriage and moving. So of course my cousin wants to make the trip to Ontario with us, and of course we think it’s a great idea. And Grandma met him at Dorkfish’s wedding and was impressed. But she doesn't like to acknowledge who he's related to or how the couple met.

“He’s a very handsome boy. Smart, too--an engineer!” she said.
“Yeah. He looks a lot like someone else we both know, who you don’t want a picture of.” Actually, they could be fraternal twins--they even have the same taste for interesting fashion choices. He celebrated his college graduation by wearing a Mohawk under his mortarboard, and had to remove his eyebrow ring for his new job.
“Not that again…”
“Thinks like her, too, when it comes to his math talent.”
“I never said [L’Ailee] wasn’t smart. She’s like you, almost too smart.”
I remained calm. “Please remember *you* are asking *us* to do a favor.”
“Look, can she talk to him about coming or not?”

L’Ailee and I gave each other a look that just screamed, “Do *you* want to take this one?”

“Well?” my grandma asked.

I handed the phone to L’Ailee and let her deliver the coup de grace. “Given the kindness you have shown to his cousin and your two oldest grandchildren for several years, I think he’s smart enough to make the right decision,” she said. And then she hung up the phone. And then we called the Dorkfishes to bitch some more.


scribble said...

yeah you can slap her. no court in my world would convict you of much more than that,
I am so sorry she did this to you and the honey.

My mom pulled the same thing back in 1978. She invited me for christmas but made sure to let me know my partner wasn't invited. Thus began 6 years of being disowned when I said I would not be attending either.
Families just blow sometimes.

CrackerLilo said...

When did she stop pulling it?

I'm sorry you went through it. *hugs*

And I'm thankful the rest of my relatives are getting, to some degree or other, much better than that.

Blessed be!

annie said...

it makes me absolutely sick that people have such trouble allowing other people to love whomever they choose. *love is real-not fade away* i am sorry for the pain it brings to you and to your beloved, crackerlilo.

CrackerLilo said...

Hell, this week the pain's equal-opportunity. I honestly think this is as much a "Grandma's got favorites and you're not it" thing as it is a "homophobia" thing. But thank you. The pain being equal-opportunity doesn't make it *that* much better.

Jaded&Opinionated said...

This has been one big week of families just sucking ass. why do they think we have to put up with crap like this just because we're related? I just don't get it. the very people who are supposed to love us unconditionally are the ones who treat us like shit. Makes no freakin sense to me.

CrackerLilo said...

They probably think they can get away with it.

It sucks and it's sorry and I'm sorry yours is doing it too, Jaded.

Cindy said...

Yes you can slap her, and I'll slap her too. I swear, when will people get it?