“Grandma is a badass.
She is a brave, strong, remarkable woman with the biggest heart.
And she raised a brave, strong, remarkable woman with the biggest heart.
We’re going to be very very okay. ”
You are currently downstairs with Grandma.
You have just gobbled up the pancakes she made – as have I – and so I have taken a few minutes to myself to..well…do this.
We’ve had a long afternoon.
I took you into town to run some errands – and give Grandma and Grandad some space- and made the mistake of letting you walk through the toy section of Sainsburys.
You cried for a Barbie doll. They were reduced but you’ve got so many already, my gut reaction was no absolutely not.
You cried all the way down to the biscuit aisle and when we stopped to ask a member of staff where the cling film was located, she replied: “Do you have animals?”
Me: “Oh no I said I’m looking for cling film, you know, to cover food with..”
Kind lady: “I know, do you have animals? Cos if you don’t you’d never find it..It’s in the pet section..”
Me: “Oh..ok thank you!” *Slightly confused yet simultaneously amused.
She then looked down at you crying and said something along the lines of “Oh sweetheart..” and you proceeded to cry even more, and harder, this time accompanied with a “I want Grandma”. She then reached down to comfort you and again you just repeated “I want Grandma..”. You looked genuinely very very sad that Grandma was not present. She probably would have bought you the Barbie.
I scooped you up into my arms, gave the amusing woman a big smile and walked toward the pet section – where indeed the cling film was located. I felt awful. Because even though I was the one kissing your head, trying to comfort you – whilst at the same time remain strong in my decision not to buy you the toy out of some deep-seated guilt I’d always felt for some irrational reason- in your head the person you really wanted was not there. I know what that feels like. After all, she is my Mummy. And yet, I still felt frustrated and jealous.
This happens a lot.
When I upset you, when I say no, when we have disagreements and I know I have to stick to my word, be firm, stay strong…you cry for Grandma.
Grandma buys you toys.
Grandma comes home with surprises.
Grandma makes pancakes just because it’s Thursday.
I mean the woman has a secret stash of chocolate. She has a permanent secret supply of often out-of-date-but-still-edible candy. And she gives you piggy-backs up the stairs at 9pm. Of course she’s the favourite. I don’t carry your weight on my back – mainly cos I’m too scared of dropping you, or accidentally whacking your head on something – not at 2pm and most certainly not at 9. (WHEN I FIRMLY BELIEVE YOU SHOULD BE ASLEEP…).
Grandma does lots of fun things with you, that I just can’t be f***** to do.
This is the truth.
I will dance around my bedroom with you.
I will play tickle monster until we’re both out of breath from laughing.
I will sing to Little Mix, S Club 7 and Ed Sheeran with you in the car, and not complain when you request the same song be on repeat for the entire journey.
I will read to you in the bath. (*Ok, I read pages from funny peoples’ autobiographies. Last week I read some of Miranda Hart’s “Is it just me?”. I don’t think you were listening, you were lost in imaginary play, but I did put on voices).
I will read you stories of your choice, and laugh with you when we try and identify the letters/words and you get them wrong.
I will put on silly accents and find myself laughing at you as you’re laughing at me, then secretly love it when you request I “DO THE FUNNY VOICE AGAIN!!!”.
I will make fun of Grandma’s choice of footwear – or rather her hilarious sock-shoe combos – and encourage you to laugh with me because I believe life is too short not to laugh at such things. (PICTURED BELOW).
I will paint with you and get my extra-special-acrylic-paints out because your kiddy-squirty ones are basic and colour-limited and I want you to express yourself in ALL the different shades of yellow, every type of blue, and all the rest.
We do these things – and plenty more – on a regular basis and we have a lot of fun together. We laugh, a lot.
But I will not let you have chocolate after 8pm.
I will not buy Cheerios for you.
I will not bring you a new toy every other day.
I will not piggy-back you to bed.
I will not give in to your cries just because we are in public. *I mean you’ve never really cried for long, you just maintain this really sombre face for a good few minutes, either way you’ve guilt tripped me into thinking I have somehow failed that moment-of-parenting when actually I HAVE SUCCEEDED.
I will always want you to be asleep by 8pm. (Unless it’s a holiday or special occasion or whatever else).
I will always aim for you to be having Weetabix or porridge and not the Cheerios that Grandma often buys.
I will always want to try and limit your screen time.
I refuse to collect bugs with you, as Grandma so happily does.
And sorry babe but I get bored picking flowers, so G-Ma’s your woman for that too.
In the good cop/ bad cop dynamic that sometimes plays out at home, I will always, sadly, have to play bad cop, because I am technically playing BOTH COPS a lot of the time.
I like to think parents work together.
I picture two people supporting and encouraging each other; having conversations where they openly discuss what’s working and what’s not, what’s best for the family when it comes to bed time routines/meals/finances/discipline/toy-purchasing/ everything else.
But see, it’s a little more complex with your Grandma and I.
We don’t always agree. We have different mindsets, different ways of doing things, we are alike and yet very very different. We’re also, funnily enough, not a couple.
I’m your Mummy, but she’s MY Mummy.
I don’t really like going up against my Mummy.
I have tried.
On various issues.
We’ve talked like adults, we’ve bickered like sisters, we’ve shouted like…mother and daughter.
And in the end, all I think is
I can’t always exert control as a parent,
but my God that little girl is loved”.
So I write this, to say sorry for all the times we’ve ever bickered in front of you, about you. Know that it has always come from a place of love, and even though it doesn’t look like it, Grandma and I love each other very much. Probably too much.
We are far too comfortable with each other, as you will know from all the times I’ve just gone over and sat on her.
I apologise for the arguing, but I also do not apologise.
Because Grandma really is the best.
Grandma is a badass.
She is a brave, strong, remarkable woman with the biggest heart.
And she raised a brave, strong, remarkable woman with the biggest heart.*
*And that’s not to blow my own trumpet..Nah, f*** it, I’m blowing my own trumpet. *trumpet sounds*.
Shit gets hard and there comes a point when you have to start describing yourself with words like remarkable and strong. Also, I am awfully kind, I have a big heart. Everyone knows it. I just do. I will never see it as a bad thing. I still say no to people. Balance darling, balance.
You are very lucky, my sweetheart, to have this woman in your life.
We both are.
My general-Badassery + Grandma’s-Filipino hilariousness // badassery + Grandad’s Cambridge brains and old-person-wisdom?
Ha. I feel we are both going to be very very okay.
Right I should probably head back downstairs and see what you’re up to.
I heard Grandma shouting to Grandad that dinner was ready.
You are probably sat eating cheese like most evenings.
Lots of love,
to the moon and back
P.S Didn’t buy you the overpriced Barbie but did purchase the princess tiara you chose and the chocolate golden coin you politely requested.
You were delighted.
See, when you make fun-but-also-sensible choices I am more than on board to make a financial investment. Ha. Love you baby.