I’m a live-in caregiver for my grandmother (my father’s mother) and have been for 5 years. It is not easy. She is 83 and while she has some health issues, overall she’s pretty healthy. Most of her problems are with balance, which is why my family lives with her; in case she falls. Living with grandma has taught me many things, and bless her heart; taught me how to live my life the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandma. I take care of her because no one else could (or would) and I know if my dad lived in this state, he would do it. So I’m his proxy.
Here are some things I’ve learned from my grandmother:
1. Don’t worry so much. My grandma worries all the time, about everything. Once there was a fire in the state my dad lives in and she was upset. She kept calling him and wondering if he was alright. Oh, the fire wasn’t in his town; it was on the other side of the state. Grandma was worried anyway. The other day she tells me,
“There is a warning the tv told us, there is flooding on the 138 highway.”
Me:”Grandma, we are at home. That doesn’t affect us and we don’t know anyone who is traveling right now”
Grandma:” Well, there’s a warning.”
2. Let the phone ring. My husband has a saying I like to use, “it’s not that serious”. He is right, most things are not that serious, especially a ringing phone. My grandma will yell at the phone, “I’m coming, hold on” and rush to answer it before it rings 3 times. Part of me understands that she doesn’t get out much so a phone call from a loved one can make her happy. But most of the time, it is someone trying to sell her solar panels and they call every day. She started yelling at them. I wonder why she just doesn’t tell them to stop calling.
3. Try new things. My grandmother has lived in California since the 1950’s. She has lived in her home for around 50 years. I have lived all over Europe and the US. I like to try new things. Once I cooked pozole. For those who don’t know, it is a wonderful Mexican soup of shredded pork, a broth of chilies, hominy and add ins like ciliantro and cabbage. I learned how to make it and it was delicious. I couldn’t believe my grandma had never heard of it or tried it. She has lived in Southern California forever! Try some Mexican food, and not Taco Bell. She had also never heard of elote (corn with mayo, cheese and chilie) and the corn man comes by all the time. Eat some elote, it’s the best!
I really love my grandma and I love taking care of her.
I asked her once what the craziest thing she had done; she told me it was marrying my grandfather because a man named Jack loved her also. Would love to hear the rest of that story.