Flaws in the System by Tina Wagner Mattern
I’ve been giving this grandmother thing some thought and this is what I’ve decided: There are some serious flaws in the system.
The first flaw seems rather obvious: in order to have grandchildren, you must first have children. This is just not right. It’s like saying you can’t have the fun of getting a puppy unless you invest in a mom dog first.
Fortunately, I do have children, a son and a daughter. But this brings me to my other bone of contention—Flaw number two: In order for one to become a grandmother, one’s kids must agree to marry (hopefully) and bear children. I find this arrangement blatantly unfair.
My twenty-nine year old son, for instance, has been dating a beautiful girl for four years now. I’m certain that there will be wedding bells at some point in the not-too-distant future, but in the meantime, whenever I mention marriage, he just grins and if I bring up the subject of children, he shakes his head and looks at me like I’ve suggested he bring a herd of rabid weasels into his house.
My daughter, who is twenty-six, is also in a committed, two-year relationship with a great guy—they are completely amenable to the whole marriage thing “down the road a ways, when our careers are established.” But when I mention babies. . .she just rolls her eyes and says, “Yes, mom, there will be babies, but it’s going to be a while.”
When is a while, I want to know? For crying out loud, I’m turning sixty years old this year! With any luck at all I’m going to have the most beautiful grandchildren God ever put on the earth, but I can see it now…there they’ll be, racing over to the swing set at the park, and then patiently waiting for their grandmother and her walker to get there twenty minutes later to give them a push.
“Grandma, we love you!” they’ll say and I’ll be cupping my ear and yelling, “What?”
Later, when its bedtime, they’ll be all snuggled down, waiting for grandma to read them their story. . .and waiting. . .and waiting—because its past eight-o-clock and their grandma is sound asleep, holding Goodnight Moon in her wrinkled fingers, snoring and drooling through her false teeth.
Then the day will come when I’ll offer to drive my teenaged grandchildren to the mall and my kids will look horrified and try to distract me with a prune milkshake, which will probably work because I will have forgotten all about my offer by then.
And finally, if I make it to my grandkids’ graduations, I’ll be the elderly woman in the stands, telling the stranger sitting next to me about my hemorrhoids.
Sigh. It just isn’t fair.
Maybe I could guilt them into getting married and providing me with grandkids: I could get a chimpanzee, dress it in cute baby clothes and surprise them with it when we go out to dinner. Then when the waitress comes to take our order I could sit it on my lap and coo, “What would Grandma’s little sweetheart like to eat?” Or, perhaps I could walk back and forth in front of their homes with an empty stroller and a sign: WILL WORK FOR GRANDKIDS.
Neither of those two ideas strikes me as being very effective though. So it looks like I’m just going to have to do what my husband says and be patient, which you may have guessed by now, is not my forte. I just need to keep myself busy and out of trouble while I wait.
Let’s see…Perhaps I could buy a Harley and form a biker’s club with other frustrated women who are waiting for grandkids; each of us could get tattoos of babies wearing Harley logo wings and we could call it the Grannie’s Angels! But I seriously doubt that my husband would be too thrilled with that idea; he’s not entirely convinced I’m a competent SUV driver, let alone a motorcyclist.
Maybe I should take up knitting. With the years I may have to wait, I would have time to make each of my prospective grandchildren several rooms-full of king-sized blankets, coats sized from birth to approximate age forty, and everything else they may ever need from underwear to socks and sleeping bags to car covers. But all that sitting around knitting would probably make me fat and lazy and nobody wants a fat and lazy grandma.
Sky diving might be fun, but then again, if I got killed, I would automatically forfeit my chance of being number one favorite grandmother, so that’s out. What to do…what to do…? I briefly considered getting my tubes untied and having my own grandkids, but at 60, I’m pretty sure any eggs I might still have are over the use-by date.
After mulling this dilemma over, I have good news! I have finally come up with the perfect solution: I’ll go to medical school, become an OB/GYN and then, by the time my kids are ready to have children, I can deliver them myself!
I am going to make an AWESOME grandmother! Eventually.