Yesterday I received a letter from my mother. No, not an email. Not a card, either. An actual letter. With an actual stamp. And actual somewhat illegible handwriting. With underlines. You know, underlines? I LOVE and MISS you ALL so MUCH. Substitute the caps with three (THREE) underlines under each one. She does this on Hallmark cards, too, you know. She’ll write a little something inside the card, but then will proceed to underline the stock poem/message written on the inside. But only every few words, you know: “I MISS the TIMES we used TO spend TOGETHER.” For example.
I digress. So she’s written me a letter, largely in response to our conversation on Sunday that I cut short, I’m sure, although she didn’t say as much. You know, the conversation I cut short there at 30 minutes. I was talking to her out on the back deck while my wife had things under control with RR in the living room. Under control as in, not complaining in screams or demanding a refill or a massage. I had put off calling her for two whole weeks, and in the last conversation we had, I complained that her telling me how long it had been since our last conversation wasn’t really the best way to encourage me to keep calling. It was sort of like being in a confessional: Forgive me, Mother, for I have not called for two weeks. I also had told her (gently) that long gone are the days of hour-long conversations with her, since I could maybe manage 10 minutes at best here and there. She could understand, right? She used to be a mother to an infant once upon a time.
In those precious 30 minutes, she proceeded to tell me about such fascinating day-to-day details such as her other grandchildren’s bus schedule. You know, somewhere in between interrupting the part where I was telling her about RR smiling, and grabbing, and starting to smoke. So at 30 minutes, RR started to have a bit of a vocal whine, and I took it upon myself as a sign to go. She reluctantly let me get off the phone that very instant (perhaps thinking I was lying, since she couldn’t actually hear RR fussing herself), which was the first time she didn’t actively try to keep me talking when I tell her I have to go.
So then I get a short two-page letter that, honestly, I can’t remember of what the content was. All I can recall is the underlines. I think the point was, she loves and misses me. Oh, and that she would have loved to hear RR cry, which sounds really odd, but I guess make sense for a woman who refuses to learn how to use the internet and see all of the beautiful pictures and videos we have posted of RR smiling, grabbing, and making me a sandwich. This is all despite the fact that she has a beautiful new laptop, has bought an internet subscription through her cable provider, but unfortunately for her, the internet does not come with instructions, and my free time and patience are all used up.
My response today was a typed-out letter in Word that I’ve printed out and plan to stick a stamp on and send her way with a couple of pictures. Welcome to 2010, Mom. I’m sure I’ll get another letter subtly complaining about the lack of using my own handwriting. Maybe I can reprint it in a handwriting font. Do you think she’d know? But seriously, with gems like this picture posted by my wife sitting out there on the internet waiting for consumption, it seems unfair to complain that we’re keeping the goody from anyone.
She only knows how to be an in-town Grandma. The kind of Grandma you drop your kids off with so that you can go out to dinner, or go Christmas shopping, or play their XBOX. I don’t think she has any idea how to be a Grandma to a kid she won’t see or talk to on a daily basis, and in return, probably won’t know them as well as she does her other grandkids. And that it’s really OK that she doesn’t immediately know RR’s shoe size and favorite color of the week when she’s eight. Well, and whereas I think that’s OK, she might consider it devastating since she can only show love through giving gifts of clothing. It’s a learning curve, mostly, but one that might come at the expense of sending letters via horse or pigeon.
Anyhow, seriously, have you seen this picture? I would underline it three times if I could.