Grandmothers have the right to blindness. They don’t need to know complicated life crises their grandchild is currently going through. They are not interested in the dodgy theories circulating in their heads. What they need to know is how the weather is, how the food is, and that the grandchild is fine.
If they don’t get a message in a long time, they start worrying. If they get a message which at some point suggests the grandchild’s sorrows, they start worrying. All they need to know is the wellbeing of their grandchild.
Now that sounds like lying to your grandmother. It’s not exactly lying, you just want to make sure that every paragraph you start, even the ones where you mention your little problems, should end on a positive note. Something like: The course is stressful, but I find relaxation in the dance class I joined. Or: My flat mates are a bit annoying, but I am not often at home anyway.
I find it a good practice for myself, too. A letter to my grandmother makes me equal all the bad things that are currently in my life with something good. I see things lighter, they might actually become even.
What grandmothers want to know are is the nitty-gritty. They want to have an overview over the situation you are currently in. That involves the place, the conditions and your activities. Not what you think about current political things. Not which philosopher you read recently. Well, maybe that yes, but then not what this philosopher says about the social psychological constituent in the late work of Franz Kafka.
I used to involve all this. I used to write long letters to my grandmother just as I would to a friend of my age. (Maybe with the only difference that I would elaborate technical things like Photoshop or Blogging.) I would explain how I felt, how confused I was, and which theories I had.
When skyping with my dad and her recently, I realised she doesn’t want and need to know those things. She wants to see me, see me smiling, see that I look well, that I have a healthy complexion and that I’m not too skinny. Then she can go and mind her own business.
It’s like these cards she sends, even though I am in another country. Those cards just say: Have a nice weekend, grandma and granddad.
I look at them, I am happy, I put them in my box where I collect my letters and then I forget about them. That’s what grandma’s want. A note that says: I am fine. Your grandchild. Then they can file that, stop worrying for a while and get on with their own things. You may want to keep those short notes coming on a regular basis, so that sorrows due to longer silence don’t have the chance to come up. But you may also want to keep it appropriate for grandmothers, which doesn’t necessarily mean simple and whitewashed, but showing obviously that you are alive and that there is no reason to worry.
How do you blind your grandma? Drop a comment!