Friday, January 22, 2010
Grandma Muttering Darkly
Why? Because she was a neurotic mess.
Me? Can't pull me away from a ceremony. Daughter? Sobbing on my lap.
Me? Participated in every piano recital I could get to, collecting miniature plastic Beethoven busts until they cast a shadow over my piano in Skokie. Daughter? Will only take lessons of any type if guaranteed ahead of time that there will be no performance.
This all would have been fine, just personally humiliating - nothing unusual for me as a parent - if I hadn't made the mistake of asking my mom to attend the graduation. I didn't always ask her to attend things, what with the leaving the house issue, and wearing enough coats and the sickness issue. But because I did, I had a double humiliation: Daughter on my lap sobbing and my mother next to me muttering about spoiled children and how I should "make her go up there."
Flash back to Skokie, 1971. It was a big year for me. I had become a big time Skokie pianist, famous in my own mind. My amazing talent had catapulted me past all the other little Jewish girls marching reticently over to our piano teacher's apartment building each week and had managed to get me the hard version of every song the entire fifth grade was playing - from Sunrise Sunset to If I Were A Rich Man. This earned me two distinct accolades: a spot in the elementary school orchestra playing Kumbalalaika, and a spot playing Love Story in front of the entire auditorium for my fifth grade graduation.
My piano teacher was there. My friend's trampy mafia-hooker mother was there, a ring of empty seats around her. My teachers were there. Guess who wasn't there for either performance? My mom. In 1971 she was busy all year readying herself for my oldest sister's wedding. In 1978, the year I graduated high school, she was busy all year readying herself for the third sister's wedding. This year I'm turning 50. She'll be away on a cruise. Coincidence?
Yet she sat there fuming at my sweet, nutty Daughter, like she herself was an expert at graduation ceremonies. Little did she know, later that evening that little nut of mine reenacted the entire ceremony for us from start to finish. She sang all the songs, danced all the dances, and had me call out her name with her play microphone so she could come up to our pretend podium in our family room and get her diploma.
No sobbing, no sitting on my lap. No muttering grandma looking on.
Are you the kind of parent who goes to everything or just the necessary things? Did your parents attend every function when you were a kid? Do your kids relish time in the spotlight or shy away from it?
A big thank you to Kristen at Motherese, for reminding me about the topic of neurotic children!
In the Help Haiti Blog Challenge, from Jan. 15th to Jan. 20th this blog received 48 comments, for which I am donating $2 each to the Red Cross, or $96.00, and adding an additional contribution of $54.00 to equal $150. Thank you for helping me help Haiti.