This story was initially posted on July 30, 2009 on Buggering Crap Monkies. Since I am going to visit Grandma this week, I thought it fitting to repost one of our finest moments together.
While in North Battleford, I had ample opportunity for Grandma to give me all kinds of tips on marriage, living together, and a successful life of a wife. Oh Grandma. While this was very helpful in the 1800s when you were born, but a fair bit of it doesn't much apply now. For the most part I would nod and smile, but after 2 weeks I was getting just a little cranky.
One night as I was getting ready for bed, Grandma came into my room at the end of the hall and tsked at my room. Bed unmade, clothes scattered everywhere, books askew, pillows on the floor, dog dish leaning precariously on a high heeled shoe.
"You will try and keep a better house when you're married, won't you?"
I explained to Grandma that likely I would be tidier in my house because I would have places to put things and I would be able to do so easier.
"And, you'll make the bed every day?"
"No, probably not."
She gasped audibly as though I had announced I would be feeding The Guy baby seals for supper every night and lining the yard with their little, bitty seal bones. She flung a bony hand to her chest and clutched at her nightdress. "But you must!"
I have to admit, I have a little rebellious streak that encourages me to torture Grandma by being more disagreeable than I would normally. It is the streak that prompted me, at 23 years old, to announce I was not only not getting married, but would shack up with a lesbian. I like to give Grandma the vapours. Sometimes it is out of amusement to myself and sometimes it is just plain meanness.
"Grandma, if he wants the bed made every day, then he's going to have to make it."
Grandma was horrified. I think she was a little heart broken. She looked as though she had personally failed at making me a good woman. She fluttered around the room at a loss for words. She asked again. Was I sure? Yes, I was not going to make the bed every day. Grandma looked defeated. Finally, she pleaded with me -- for the sake of my marriage.
"But, if it really pleases him, you will change this thing for him, won't you?"
I tried to explain the way The Guy and I planned to handle things. Things that were important to me in the house, I would do. Things that were important to him, he would do. The things we hated, we would share. It would be a participatory thing. We would compromise. We would only change things for each other under agreement and with discussion.
Grandma just stood there staring at me. You could see the words forming in her mind "How will they ever make it?" I conceded defeat. I knew I could have this conversation in circles for hours and she would never understand why I wouldn't just change something because it was what The Guy wanted.
In a soft and reassuring voice I said "I will make the bed more often, Gram. Don't worry."
Now, every morning I wake up, I am in a constant struggle between rebellion forcing me not to budge a sheet on the bed and utter guilt because Grandma is convinced we're heading down a long road where The poor Guy will have to deal with a disastrous wife and a messy house.
One with wrinkled sheets even.