At this point in this pregnancy, most of my family knows that we’re going to have a baby. We didn’t necessarily tell them all, but the family we did tell are comprised of pretty much the world’s worst secret keepers. My step-mom texted me to ask if she could tell her mom (who I love and am happy to have know) and I hesitated for a minute. I happened to be sitting next to my mom at the time and I was worrying out loud that if my step-grandma knew before my own grandpa, that might not be kosher.
And then my mom informed me that he already knew. Seriously, worst secret keepers ever.
The only immediate-ish family member we hadn’t told yet and who hadn’t found out was my grandma. This baby is the first grandchild for both of my parents (step-siblings included) and though it’s not my (maternal) grandfather’s first great-grandchild, it is my (paternal) grandma’s first. We waited a little longer to tell her just because I thought it might be better in person.
My grandma is a fun lady, but she also completely lacks a filter. Her mother had a similar problem, and sometimes it’s great fun, other times she has no idea that she just called you fat. Or she does know and she doesn’t care, I’m not entirely sure. But we’ve all gotten more than our fair shares of comments made about us, to our faces. You kind of just have to love her for her bluntness and try not to be offended. It’s always fun to have guests over and watch their reactions.
The first thing that my sister said when I told her she couldn’t tell grandma was “why don’t you just wait until she calls you fat?” I’m not going to lie, I totally considered it.
In the end we decided to tell her over breakfast. I wasn’t nervous as much as just absolutely intrigued to see her reaction. She’s so entirely unpredictable that I had no idea what she was going to say.
Her very first response was a very loud “OH MY GOD.” And quickly followed by the realization that she was going to be a great-grandma and my dad was going to be a grandpa. It was very cute and I was glad I had done it in person. If anything it made me regret even more that I did not tell my parents in person.
We had brought our ultrasound pictures with us to show her, which is where things took a turn for the, well, for the grandma style. She squinted at the images for a minute, looks up and say, “do you know what this looks like? A dead mouse.” Ouch. All I could do is laugh. I mean, I’m not sure why my baby looks more like a dead mouse than a live one, but I guess it’s a kind of demented ink blot test.
When I told her how far along I was and that we were waiting until around 13 or 14 weeks to really tell friends she nodded and said, “well you know, I had my first miscarriage at 4 months, so you’re never safe.” Double ouch. I will never understand why people feel compelled to tell pregnant women those kinds of stories. My family seems to have a special affinity for them.
About 2 minutes later she looks at me in worry and says, “now Katie, you ARE watching your weight, right?” To which I told her no, I was eating everything in arms reach, just to see her reaction. From there she told me that with her first son she only gained 8 pounds and the second it was only 20. I told her my doctor wanted me to gain between 25 and 30 and she made a suggestion that I stay on the low side of that. Thanks lady, I’ve already gained 4, we might be looking more at the high end.
The only remaining grandma-ism that she threw out was a quick comment that she always thought my youngest sister, who is 21 right now and considerably younger than my older sister and me, would be the first to have a baby. I couldn’t help but laugh at that one because my step-mom’s face in that moment was absolutely priceless.
I love my grandmother very much and I think she truly has no idea how she comes across. If anything, I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s helpful, which on some level she is. Every time I share a meal with her I look forward to the days when I am old enough to say whatever the hell I want and watch everyone else squirm uncomfortably. I think that’s one of the privileges that comes along with great-grandmotherhood.
Photo credit: John Partridge Photography