Who took my mother? Where did she go? Mom was always kind, very funny and loving but softness was not a character trait she displayed. Years ago, Mom had a brain tumor, got out of bed five days after surgery – courageous, strong and determined. I admired that about her. The demanding woman who almost seemed harsh and often times lacking in sympathy vanished without a trace. She looked the same, sounded the same but the other her could not be put together again. I figure she disappeared shortly after the birth of my first child, a daughter. When the second child, my son, came along…Grandma the power house arrived, minus the combat gear. Her grandchildren could somehow do no wrong. Whereas, I could, would and did. How did the imperfect child deliver perfection…hmm?
The transition from Mom to Grandma softened her. “G”, became bold and of a bit of a bad ass, I must say. Mom seems to have gone wild. Yup, Grandma gone wild. She taught the children how to fight, literally. How to throw a punch, hold someone down and other techniques used by WWF fighters. Grandma sanctioned violence, yup she did. It played out like this. I was in my room with the kids lying on the bed talking and “G” comes in. She jumped on my chest with both knees. I screamed, “Jesus have mercy, I couldn’t breathe.” Holds me down by my head. I can’t fight back, she’s my mother. All the while barking instructions and telling the kids, “When you jump in the chest they can’t breathe. So do that. Pull hair if you have too. Buf buf them in the face.” I was shocked. Paralyzed. The grandchildren, well, “They laughed. Grandma beat up Mom.” And are stilling laughing.”
When the children standup for themselves “G” rewarded them with a trip to the store to get whatever they wanted. “Grandma is cool,” they say. She even gives advice on quick comebacks such as what to say to teachers should they get out of line. Hey, no one’s going to mess with her grandchildren. When the teacher wouldn’t let my son use the bathroom. Grandma suggested, “Whip out dat ting and just wee wee right there on the floor. Next time she will let you go.” I had to intervene and tell him, “Not a good idea.”
Grandma leaves the best notes. Came home one Thanksgiving, I had to cook the turkey and prepare everything. Mom was at work. Thought she would have left instructions as to what she wanted done, as she always did. No, not this time. Got to set this up for you: The players, Ted, the ex-husband, Carol, the new girlfriend. Clear, ok. The note read: “Ted and Carol mash-up. Everything crash. Love Mom.” Later, Mom told me as she kissed her teeth, “You know how to cook. I told you what was important.”
Looking back, maybe Mom didn’t change. I grew up and learned to look at her differently and love her more. I hope my children will do the same when I become “Grandma the powerhouse.”