I have grandiose aspirations for my little blog about my family, but it turns out that time just gets away from me and before I know it, it's been months since I've written anything. I've been feeling a little guilty because the past two Tuesdays, I've taken a break from my weekly dinners with my grandparents as I've had holiday things to do, my college roommate is out here visiting, and I was going to see them on Christmas anyway. They still dutifully called me on both Tuesdays though, to see if I was coming, even though I had written on their calendar that I wasn't coming for dinner again until January 4th. I think my visits help break up their weeks, and get them to keep time better, which tugs the heartstrings especially taut.
Thanksgiving was somewhat frustrating during cleanup. My grandmother insisted on helping - I think she gets anxiety over feeling useless. She kept bringing in people's glasses that they were still drinking from when we were doing dishes. When she did it the third and fourth time, both my mother and I were yelling things like, "Please sit down, Grandma! Don't worry about the dishes!" and "Stop bringing over the glasses! People are still using them!" We'd only have to wait about a minute before she would come toddling over with the glasses in her hands again, and a shocked look on her face as we tried and failed to hold back the annoyance in our voices.
Finally she sat down in a huff and stated indignantly that she was just going to sit in the chair and not move because that's what she was told. I looked at her and said gently, with as big of a smile as I could, "Grandma, you've been taking care of us for years and years. We're just trying to catch up! So, you should just stay and relax." She smiled back at me.
My grandmother's behavior on Christmas was much more disheartening than frustrating. I was helping cook dinner in the kitchen, and she walked over, a concerned look on her face.
"I feel so bad," she said. "Why is everyone here? They're here for me, aren't they?"
I scrunched my face at her, puzzled. "What? Grandma, they're here because it's Christmas."
She showed no signs of recognition. "No, I think they're here for me. I didn't want to cause so much trouble."
"Don't worry, Grandma!" my mother shouted, while basting the ham. "No one is going to sing you 'Happy Birthday!'"
This did not relieve the apprehensive look on my grandmother's face. "I didn't want everyone to come over just for me."
I didn't think my grandmother thought it was her birthday. I think she thought everyone was there to take care of her. It's all speculation though. I could never figure out why she thought everyone was there for only her.
"Grandma..." I paused. "It's Christmas. Don't you remember what Christmas is? Family gathers to celebrate together?"
The wrinkles on her face were deep and the skin around her eyes looked thin to me. I didn't remember there being so many creases. She looked up at me in disbelief.
"Don't worry, Grandma, they're not here for just you."
"Okay," she said, and then shuffled away into my parents' living room in her slippers.
I sat at the kids' table with my cousins, my college roommate and my boyfriend, so I didn't get to observe more. As the evening came to a close, we all hugged and they went home, forgetting the chocolates I'd made for them, and the Victoria Toffee my parents buy them every year from See's, since it's my grandmother's favorite. My mother told me that she and my father brought over everything today. "We were there for about twenty minutes and she asked me four times what the candy was for," my mother told me over the phone. "I finally just wrote it down on a card that I put on top of the box."