I had the most bizarre Christmas card delivered this year. Seemingly normal when I opened it “With best wishes, from T and G” (code) on the right hand inside page. But then I read the opposite page, and got this;
“Being a grandparent is even more hard work than being a parent!!! No time for me!!!!”
I popped it in my handbag to show people at a christmas party I was going to that night. A christmas party full of parents with children under the age of 4. I was going to be a hoot this year. I would be armed with hilarious genuine material.
Now, I am not saying Grandparents don’t have it tough. They do. They do a brilliant job, most of them. But, honestly, why write the above to a parent with 2 children under the age of four. Scrap that, why write that at ALL unless it was to another grandparent?
Today, desperately rushing round M and S with the kids before their bribery plain bread rolls ran out (who am I kidding. it was croissants. I disgust even myself), another example of attention-seeking-Gran occured. Looking as I do (frowny and harrassed) I often get looks from grannies as Alex is shoplifting umbrellas and scarves and anything within pram height, and Ed is blowing continuously on his ill tuned Peppa Pig whistle (cheers father christmas). They love it. They smile and roll their eyes knowingly. Sometimes I manage to avoid them. Sometimes I cant. M and S is a risky environment because only certain types of women shop there – the ones who like to talk – and today was no different. This woman is pretty much bending her Inspector Gadget neck around the corners of the clothes rails to make eye contact with me. And I am pretty much doing everything I can to avoid it. She gets me at the dead end of Per Una. Trapped…
“Are they twins?” she shrills.
I sigh. I do a fake chuckle “No, no these two!”
“Of course not, whoopsie me! That one is a girl!”.
When people stop you in shops to “ask” you questions, what they really want is to talk about themselves. And right on cue…
“We just had twins in the family! I have two sets of grandchildren who are twins…to the same parents! First set are 8 and second set are 5 weeks old”.
My mouth drops. “how are they coping?!” I ask.
“Well“, she says. “WE have to help of course. WE are helping ALL THE TIME (bug sigh and roll of eyes). My son in law is away this week, so guess what, it is all down to us. My daughter is very unorganised”.
“Er, ok, do they live far away?”. “
“well, not really. 5 miles”.
How jolly sad. I have a mother in law and a mother who would give their right arm to live just 5 miles from us. My parting shop to this woman, with a smile on my face and a sympathetic nod “Goodness! Well, all the best and good luck to you and your daughter. She will need it”. She thought I was referring to the children. I wasn’t.