Yesterday afternoon the phone rang, and the voice of my 81 year old grandmother met my husband's
ear. I didn't know it was her at first. I actually thought, from his answers, that it was a telemarketer.
"Mmm hmmm. Mmm hmmm." he said softly. "I...appreciate that but...no, really, thank you...thanks Grandma,
I'm not interested but, I appreciate the...her? No I don't believe so but...oh...you want to ask her yourself? Ummm, okay..hold on."
He handed me the phone, an eyebrow raised. He didn't even need to elaborate.
"Hi baby, I was just calling because, well you know I don't want to offend you but I wondered
if I could just drop off an invitation to the Memorial for you and Justin, it's next week you know..."
"Sunday. Yes, I know Grandma." I said gently. "You know you're always welcome to stop by. Come
by and have a cup of tea, we're home."
"I won't stay long...just want to drop off the invitation because I love you honey and you know,
this is the only thing Jesus asks of us to do..."
"Mmm hmm. Come on by Grandma, I'll make tea."
I never pass up an opportunity to see my Grandma. She is 81, after all.
She came by a short time later, still dressed from the morning meeting. She's getting shorter every year, I swear. I'm tall anyway, but I had to bend down to kiss the top of her little gray, permed head. Her skirt was
more than familiar to me: she wears clothes that are quite literally, older than I am. Meticulously preserved
over the years, taking out her sewing machine to mend them from time to time. She won't spend money on
clothes: all her available money goes in the Contribution Box.
She came in but didn't take off her coat. She went into "presentation mode" and actually went
through a presentation of a recent Awake magazine. Then she mentioned that she had actually
worked in service with my daughter the day before (figures, my ex only takes her out on the 31st...
the last day of the month! Have to get a couple hours in!)
I gently took the invitation and the magazine and set them down. Then I went about making tea
while she gave Justin the spiel: he just nodded politely.
This is a man who's parents baptized him Catholicto please his grandmother, but was then never taken to church again. A man who just two years ago, went to Temple and wore a Yarmulke when he attended his cousin's bat mitzvah. He'll do a lot of kind things to smooth over the religious differences in his family, and mine.
At first Grandma declined a cup of tea, but I made it anyway, and eventually she did take off her coat and we had a nice little visit.
I felt a twinge of guilt when she told me that she put off her spring trip down south in the hopes that I might come to the event: that she wanted to sit with me. She restated that of course, it was totally up to me,
etc etc. I didn't answer her one way or another, but I'd be lying if I said that the thought of
going and sitting there, practicing meditation mantras in my head all the while just to make an old woman I adore happy didn't occur to me.
As I sat there watching her drink her tea, loving her every little gesture (the way that only a grandchild can love
a grandmother,) I realized how cruel that would be, to give her any false hopes of my returning to the organization.
It wouldn't be kind to do that, it would get everyone all hopped up and then disappointed when
I talked to Justin about it afterward and told him that if he was curious and wanted to go,
I wouldn't stop him. I have no fears of them converting him: He's far too scientific a person for that.
He admitted that he, too, had considered for a moment going just to make Grandma happy (he adores her too) but agreed with me that it would raise hopes and that soon, the accounts of his conversion would be greatly exaggerated.
She kissed our cheeks and went off on her way, but I thought about it for the rest of the day.
Then, an interesting happening this morning.
My ex, who wanted to keep Leah an extra night so that he could take her to the late memorial
at his hall, has announced that he and his wife are taking an impromptu vacation. Leah will
be with me now, with the exception of one mid-week evening, until after Easter Sunday.
What an unexpected blessing! Could it be that I'll actually be able to prevent her from going at all this year?
That would be so wonderful: they've really turned up the heat on her lately.
Not that she's falling for it. She asked me recently, "Mom, how can they say there's gonna be
a new world? How do they know that? No one knows."
Smart kid, my little girl.
So anyway...I'm now waiting for the phone to ring for my family to descend on me, wanting
to pick her up and take her themselves, as they did last year when my ex and I were both
sick at memorial time. We'll see. I still haven't seen or heard from my parents since our last
run in...we'll see just how quickly they're ready to pick up the phone to preserve the
interests of the cult...
The next week will be interesting. I think that Justin and I should consider taking the phone off the
hook and only returning voicemail at our discretion.
Anybody else going through this stuff with their relatives? If so, my heartfelt sympathies.
hugs to all
The Four Agreements:
Be Impeccable With Your Word
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best