Since entering this world as a black-haired baby – hair which then fell out, I’m told – I have been the recipient of three loving grandmothers. One great and two regulars. No steps or halfs about it, all three ladies are biologically mine, and they are all great at baking things. Sure some are more embarrassing and some are more Italian, but that doesn’t make them any less great at wearing hats or watering flowers. Are those somewhat unfair stereotypes? Perhaps, but in this case they just happen to be true. My grandmas also know their way around a sewing machine, are incapable of cooking for two people, and own an infinite amount of jewelry – valuable or otherwise.
Grandmas are great. Of course I know this. They took you shopping as a kid, still cook your favorite dishes, and have some of the best nostalgia stories you’ve ever heard. Who wants to watch the history channel when you can hear the real thing? (Especially when it involves embarrassing stories about your parents, like your Mom painting her bedroom bright yellow in outdoor enamel paint, or your Dad losing his front teeth by falling face first in a gym floor.)
Which is why I think it’s weird when people tell me I have “a lot” of them, like it’s a bad thing. It’s always in a psudo-judging, monotone voice, like Ben Stein telling me I won a million dollars. No inflection, no excitement, just stating a non-fact.*
You don’t say, “Oh, you have a lot of money” in flat line or “Wow, I can’t believe how many trophies are on your mantle” (infinite pause). So why make the exception for relatives, a more permanent and sentimental possession?
What comes next, usually, is a question of age. How old are they? At what age did they first have children? At what age did their children have children? In accordance with the social understanding that age can’t be talked about from 22-64, apparently, these intrusive talkers weighted the allotted dates and need to know the facts. Who cares if they had their first child at 15 or at 39? It happened, then their kids had kids, and now we are wasting time talking about it instead of eating freshly baked goods.
I choose the dessert.
*Who’s to say how many is too many? Not you, grandma haters.