Friday, May 4, 2007


Well the snowbirding in-laws are back in town. Every year it's the same song and dance. They get back the first week in May and right away it's *bbbrrring*....*bbbrrring*

"Fiery Ewok, we'd really like to take the two Punkins to Great Grandma's birthday party. She is 95thousand years old you know, never know if she's going to be around for her next birthday. All the relatives are coming. Can we pick up the kids on Friday? We can have them back Sunday afternoon. Oh- what are you doing on Saturday? You're invited too of course."

*eyes rolling* My invitation is always an after thought. A forced politeness that I am not expected to accept.

The thing is, they've been playing the "Great-Grandma's Birthday Trump Card" for the last 7 years. I'm not kidding. Every single year it's the same routine, "we'd like to take the kids to see her so we can get a 4 generation picture".

Now where I grew up, I don't remember ever once posing for a multi-generational picture. But some families cling to these like they will be museum pieces of note and value. *gag*

My first exposure came right after Punkin #1 was born. They arrived in a van, Great-Grandma, Grandma, Grampa, a pair of cousins and an aunt. Great-Grandma sits in a chair holding the baby (MY Punkin) and Grandma says, let's do a generational picture. I groan internally because I hate having my picture taken, but I try and be a good sport. Not hiding or making faces. Just grin and bear it.

I was asked to get out of the picture. Yep. "Could you move out of the picture please? This picture is Cantstandja's only." With these multi-generational pictures, it's only bloodline that counts. Daddy was needed for this picture, not Mommy.

I just about went post-partem postal on them let me tell you.

So here it is 13 years later and they still trot the whole Cantstandja family together for these damnable generational pictures of the blood. You'd think they were royalty instead of just a royal pain in my butt.

In some ways, yes, it's really nice that they want everyone together for a big weekend birthday party.

But if you think about it, how much time do you think the guests actually get to or even have to spend with the honored lady? 2 minutes tops? Maybe. And what conversations get covered? "How are you feeling?" "Have you had much rain yet?" "Is your knee still troubling you?"

Where are they the rest of the year? Living their own lives. Doing their own thing. Don't you think Great-Grandma would appreciate it more if the visits were spread out to several a month coming to see her for a few hours each? Take her out to Perkins for coffee and a slice of pie for cripes sakes!

But no, it's this big migration from all across the upper midwest to Great Grandma's birthday on the off chance that this is her last one. At least they can all claim to have been there.

All but me and my mate. *sigh*

They make a big show of Great-Grandma's birthday, but do they spend any meaningful time with her? Nope. Just make your appearance, snap the pictures, and get on with your life.



Jacob said...

Mm. I always feel guilty about how little time I spend with my paternal grandparents. They're nice and all, but it seems that the only time I see them (Christmas, usually) the conversation is somewhat constrained.

It never feels right, walking out of their house afterwards, thinking about how long it will be before I see them again. Next visit might be for one of their funerals! Oh my.

Sorry to hear about family-in-law horrors. I can't speak from experience, but I can imagine how pissed I'd be if some old twat told me to get out of a family picture.

After reading this I'm glad all my great grandparents are dead in the ground. Marking "one more year of not dying" for old people isn't much of a celebration when you think about it.

Tone said...

When my paternal grandmother was in her early 90's all she could think about was dying. She was wishing for it all the time. She was a good member of the LDS church and she couldn't understand why her "heavenly father" wouldn't call her home when she was so freaking miserable.

Oh, and the in-law horror stories I could tell. His mother REALLY wanted him to marry a good catholic Samoan girl, who would have a bunch of children. HA! His side of the family are the only ones who don't know I'm an atheist. Since his mom is paralyzed and sick all the time now, I told my husband that I will save that story for them for when we really need to end his mothers misery. So, if there really was a hell that is where I would be.

Fiery Ewok said...

Jacob- I wish my grandparents were around. They all died before I was 5 so my memories are brief or non-existant. From what I heard of them they were interesting people.

My uncle was in a nursing home my whole life and we would visit him 3-4 times per year (he lived 500+ miles away). He was an important part of our life and was a really neat person. I never expected him to die and deeply regret not having visited him more often.

It is something I learned from though, NEVER waste an opportunity to be with someone you love. Life is short and there are no do-overs. The guilt can be tremendous.

As for the in-laws I try and avoid them as much as possible.

Your 3rd paragraph description of her was spot on. ROFL!!!!

Fiery Ewok said...

Tone- That must have been so hard to watch your grandma suffer like that and to watch her religion not bring her any comfort at all. Religion is a cult of death. It does not promote life.

I konw it is not a contest and yet at the same time I freely admit that your in-laws trump mine. YIKES!!!! Mine are just annoying.

I can just hear those nagging "not good enough for our precious boy" thoughts.... No thanks.

BigTex71 said...

If they don't want you there, why would you want(or allow) your kids to be with them?

Fiery Ewok said...

That's a very good question. We've even gone through stages where we eliminated them from our lives completely. At one point they showed up at our door, pounded on it for about 10 minutes shouting about grandparent's rights and boo hooing. Was THAT embarassing. Considering it was a 8 plex apartment building.

When they are in the area they live on a lake in Minnesota so if the kids visit them they can fish, swim and go boating. Plus until last fall there were some homeschooling kids that lived next door that were good friends with my kids. But as it is 45 minutes away it was the only time they got to go there.

So it's kind of worth it. It's all on a balance, when the scale tips to not being worth it. Out they go.

Joe said...

Yet another reason to not buy into the "blood family" BS. I've always thought family is who you pick. My grandma and grandpa that really loved me were not blood related to me, they were parents of my mom's boyfriend when I was 2-3. They considered my thier grandchild until they died. I now have a grandbaby from my wife's daughter, I can't imagine feeling differently about her due to DNA.

Fiery Ewok said...

Hi Joe! It's interesting that you mentioned adopted grandparents. I had a set!!!! My sibs and I call them grama and grampa and we love them very much. They are friends of my Mom and Dad, but of the generation where they could have been.

They are great people and very worthy of the title- Grampa & Grama. :-D

I think I would have to pause for a moment and realize that their medical background isn't relavant for MY medical history! :-D