Monday, May 19, 2008

bad reasons to have children

i guess there are alot of really good reasons to have children--and probably twice as many really bad ones--but having comfort in your old age is probably NOT a good reason to have children.

my grandpa has two children (my mother and uncle), two grandchildren (me and my sister) and two great grandchildren (my sister's twins), but since the death of his second wife he just feels lonely. he definitely feels like his children and grandchildren don't visit often enough, and don't do enough for him when they visit. i know i'm guilty on this score...but since the first half of any encounter with him is chock full of guilt "who did you say you were again? my granddaughter? oooooohhhh, i thought my granddaughter FORGOT about me. it's been SO. MANY. WEEKS. since i've heard from you, i thought you didn't REMEMBER that you had a grandfather." cue repeat x10 minutes, or until my end of the conversation falls completely silent long enough for him to take note. (maybe he would use a different guilt tack if he were aware of how rampant alzheimers is among his peers where 'WHO did you say you were?' actually inidicates genuine confusion on the part of the inquisitor...but somehow i doubt it.)

anyway, one gets the feeling that the feckless children and grandchildren are something of a dissapointment to the grandfather. and, honestly, he has a point. i live close enough to him that i could and probably should visit alot more often than i do.

i guess it just makes me think that being a parent will probably bring you nothing like what you thought it would...or at least you can't count on it bringing you what you hoped for. you can hope to get something back from it at the end, but there are no guarantees. just ask grandpa nathan.

2 comments:

Heather said...

As horrible as it sounds...that is the exact reason I never call or write my grandmother anymore. I would think I was doing really well calling twice a week and she would still give me guilt. It didn't matter how often I called, it wasn't enough. Then the guilt switched to me not visiting enough, even though I am half way across the country from her. I couldn't take the guilt any more. I figured if I am going to feel guilty, let it be from not calling at all.

Katie said...

my Oma is the exact same way. although, like you said, I am guilty of not being around often enough...and when I *am* around, not conversing with her often enough.