I’ve had this on my mind to write for a while now, I just never got around to doing it. Now, you might be thinking… hey, what’s up with the title? Is he going to talk about two different things? Is he jealous of his grandparents? Does he even know what he’s talking about? I might not know exactly what I’m talking about, I’m no expert on the subject of jealousy. All I can really give you today is one person’s perspective on a situation many people have been in or may be in in the future.
Now for those of you who can be sticklers in the English language *coughmywife*, I realize that the way I‘m going to refer to jealousy in this article is the way most people view it, as envy. Desiring something that someone else has and all the complex emotions (anger, resentment etc.) that go along with it. Someone has a nice, shiny new Mustang and you don’t? Provided that Mustangs are your thing, you may have a strong desire to wish you were in the owner’s shoes. Maybe you’re angry because the asshole down the road who abuses his wife just won the lottery while you and your family are just making end meet? You get the idea. Most of us, at least once in our lifetime, have been jealous of someone else for something they have that you either don’t have or had at one point in your life, but no longer have it now. You may even hate yourself for feeling that way but there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. It’s not like you can wave your magic wand or pull out some MIB mind eraser and make it go away. For me, it was something I had to look at from a fresh perspective and create something positive out of a negative feeling. With that said, here’s my situation.
Surprise, 9 months ago I became a father. For any long standing followers of Kim’s blog, (of which we are ever so grateful to) this is something you already know. Woah, wait, this involves your son, but he’s only 9 months old!? Yeah, it does. Before I get started, know that I wouldn’t trade my son for anything. Anything. The last 9 months of my life have gone by so fast and even though, at times, it was exhausting, it’s something I’d never change.
I was jealous of my son. There’s no other way to say it. Saying it any other way would just be lying to myself and anyone else who is reading this. Well, what did he have that I wanted? I think you’ve already figured that out. His grandmother.
I lost my grandmother when I was 8. Well, I’m pretty sure it was 8. You might find it weird that, for a guy who just basically claimed to miss his grandmother, I don’t know when she died or, more shockingly to some, her birthday. The reason for that is simple, I really don’t want to have to be in pain and sad for two days, the same two days, every year for the rest of my life. I already carry that pain with me every day and to have it amplified would be unbearable. It’s hard enough to avoid seeing anything on those days on Facebook or have someone mention it. I do my best to pretend like I don’t hear/see anything and quickly shuffle the significance of the days out of my mind.
I was grand child numero uno! I could tell you I wasn’t spoiled until I was blue in the face, but that would be a lie. I would go to my grandmother’s any time I could. We’d jump on the couch, play Super Mario Brother’s 3 and I’d eat whatever I wanted. In her eyes, I could do no wrong. My mom and aunt joked with Kim one night and asked her if she was even worthy to be with me. The joke was based on the fact that my grandmother thought my shit didn’t stink and that she thought I would be too good for anyone. That’s obviously not true but, that’s how she made me feel, like the best.
Growing up, in everything I did, always asked myself “I wonder if she would be proud of me.” Based on the above paragraph, the answer, I know, would have always been a loud yes. It just killed me not to be able to ask her and here her tell me. Two of the most important days of my life, my marriage and the birth of my son, she wasn’t physically present for me to see the joy on her face. I do believe, spiritually, that she was there, but maybe that’s a topic for another day.
So, how does Ben fit into all this? First of all, I called my grandmother, Gram or Grammy. My mother has chosen for Ben to call her that. At first (and now) it didn’t bother me, but somewhere in the middle, watching them have so much fun together, it hit me. Even though I can’t remember anything that happened when I was less than a year old, this must be exactly what my Gram did with me. For at least a week I struggled to not think about it, think about my Gram and dwell on the fact that she wasn’t here. I’d look at Ben and really think, damnit, I really, really just want to be you. Not because he doesn’t have a care in the world, but because he’s got his Gram and I don’t have mine. To this day, I still am, but I’ve come to terms with it.
I watch Ben with all of his grandparents (not just my mother) and I know he’s happy. World’s biggest smile when any of them walk in the door (or when we barge into their homes!) and overall, that’s what I want for my son, for him to be happy. Basically, the way I started to look at it was that I now have a chance to live vicariously through him. I can watch his relationship grow with his grandparents and it helps me feel closer to mine. That’s why, come hell or high water, I will make every effort to let Ben see his grandparents as much possible. I hope that Ben gets to experience all the things with his grandparents that I didn’t get to with mine, mainly for him, but a little for me too.
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