Word Count: 497
A Gram Story
By Peg Scarano
My mother-in-law, Rosina, and I have had a love-hate relationship for nearly 50 years. The first strike against me was the fact I had no Italian blood flowing through my veins. A normal person might realize that this particular liability really wasn’t my fault, but it didn’t take me long to realize I was not dealing with normal here. Over the years, my husband and I had several lengthy discussions about the cause of his mom’s mean streak. He was always the loving son saying she had a rough childhood. Or she had twin boys and 18 months later gave birth to another son so she was dealing with three boys in diapers. I almost fell for that one because I know that would make me cranky.
I could write a book about all of the “gram stories” my family and I have collected over the years, but for now, I’ll just share this one classic. I was working at Valley Health Services. Two years prior to my retirement, Rosina became a resident of the nursing home.
I had a great relationship with Lisa, the CEO/Administrator who also, for some reason known only to God, took an immediate liking to Rosina and her spunky personality. As a caring and loving daughter-in-law, I took time out of my work day, five days a week, to go upstairs to visit Rosina and ask if everything was OK or if I could do something for her. Most days, I got a grunt or an eye-roll, but I felt good that I had at least tried.
Thanksgiving Day, Lisa always stopped in to wish her residents Happy Thanksgiving. She made a point of talking to Rosina because she loved her! She told her how nice it was that Rocco and Peggy were picking her up later to take her to their house for dinner so she could spend time with her granddaughters. Rosina’s comment to Lisa was, “Peggy doesn’t do anything at home and she doesn’t do anything here. I think you should fire her!”
Friday morning there was a message on my phone from Lisa asking me to call her when I got a chance. When I did, she shared this latest Gram story with me. I was mortified while Lisa thought it was the funniest thing she had ever heard. I shared this horrifying story with my husband who in turn, shared it with his brother, John, who told me not to go and see his mother for a week. I happily complied.
Unbeknownst to me, Rosina told John the following Tuesday that I hadn’t come to see her on Monday. John casually replied, “It’s my understanding you told Lisa to fire her and she did. Peg doesn’t work here anymore.”
This little exercise did not put an end to our dissonance, but I sure felt like I put points up on the scoreboard! John said she was speechless – at least until she saw me again the next week.