The Trouble in Living with Grandparents

I don’t care how small my condo is because I have got to have the best balcony and view (at least for a place in the ‘burbs.)  Tonight I’ve discovered one of my new favorite things– blogging on my balcony late at night. The cool air, the quiet, the breeze. Music in the buds.  You can’t beat it.  I’m currently sitting on the left side of my patio though because apparently there’s a spider on the right side. Scary!

Blogging on the balcony!

Being close with my grandparents is one of the greatest blessings I’ve experienced thus far in life.  Amidst the touching and sweet pictures and the meaningful moments I share, I sometimes neglect to mention that there are hard days. In reality, there are a lot of hard days. When you live with others, its tough enough. But some of you know that when you live with someone who is aging,  it can get sticky, rough and difficult.  What were the Top 10 things that made living with my grandparents tough?

1. Having to use 10 times more energy to talk loud enough so my grandparents could hear me.
2. Having to come home by 10pm every night so that my grandparents wouldn’t worry. (They were always waiting by the door or spying out the window hovering. Needless to say, my late nights were always at home.)
3. Hearing Yeye, my grandpa, yell in pain or fear at night and anxiously wondering whether this would be the night that we would be going to the ER. Feeling very stressed.
4. Having to run to answer the phone after one ring else having my grandparents yell frantically “BEL! The phone!”
5. Dirty “clean” dishes. My grandparents would wash their dishes and the routine was that you’d have to pull them out again and rewash them.
6. Surround sound from my grandpa’s TV. His TV was deafening and eventually in grad school I had to move to the basement.
7. Having my grandparents always ask “Where’s Bel?” (Back to #2, the hovering.)
8. The feeling of guilt when you didn’t want to do something for your grandparents.
9. Lack of privacy.  Sometimes I’d pretend I was still sleeping as to avoid my grandparents asking me for favors (#8 then follows).
10. My grandpa’s anger. Aging is difficult and for him I think it brought on physical and emotional pain that often came out in anger towards those close to him.

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6 thoughts on “The Trouble in Living with Grandparents

  1. Cleverly Changing says:

    Your words made me feel at ease about my aging mother. She is now 75 and to me she is still young. However, It is hard to transition into a person you speaks clearly and loud enough for her to understand. I also have to call and check in often even though I no longer live in the same state. Aging has it's challenges but it is also beautiful, it shows us reverse love and love at it's best. Although our aging love ones may yell and do certain things that are not flattering, you never doubt their love for you. It is also then that you learn what infinite love is really about. There love seems to be everlasting. I remember the last time I saw your grandmother, I longed to have conversation with her and to give her a hug. Although I didn't know what to say or how to honor her presence she was as warm as sunshine and you are blessed to still have her among you and your family.

  2. Ken Bates says:

    Thanks Bel (from an “older” college prof). This week my 85 year old dad is living with us (my turn at an annual 10 days I gladly share with my two sisters). He’s mostly sharp as a tack and we love him dearly. The frustrations you describe are fresh and real even after only six days. Thanks for helping us all (through your own writing) recognize the tensions and continue to keep our love and respect for him at the forefront.

    Ken Bates

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