Nobody does guilt trips quite like Grandma

August 28th, 2013 · 51 comments

“My dear, sweet grandmother is a treasure in my life,” writes Jessi in Dallas. To her horror, however, she realized — upon receiving this anonymous postcard from ‘a friend,’ — that she had forgotten to wish her grandmother a happy birthday this year.

Already feeling pretty guilty, says Jessi: “I immediately called her and received an additional 40-minute guilt trip over the phone. Today I sent her a birthday card in the mail.” Still, Jessi can’t help but how long it’ll be before she makes it off of Grandma’s “naughty list.”

Jessica, Where are you? I know you are out there somewhere. Contact your grandmother. She is three years away from being eighty. She is deaf and all alone. A Friend.

related: If you have a birthday and don’t hear from your grandchildren, is it still a birthday?

FILED UNDER: birthday · Dallas/Fort Worth · Grandma · guilt trip · mea culpa

51 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Gajic

    How did she call her deaf grandmother on the phone?

    Aug 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   weaselby

      Aug 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   michelle

      There are devices that transfer spoken word to text for deaf people using the phone. It’s called a TDD.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   weed store

      are you retarded son

      Aug 29, 2013 at 12:37 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Gajic

      She sends snail mail postcards and you think she’s going to typing out phone conversations on a tdd machine. Yeah ok. Submitter either lied to sound more dramatic or her grandma’s really not deaf.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 1:18 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   luna

      Deaf people cant talk?

      Aug 29, 2013 at 5:22 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   redheadwglasses

      Grandma likely means “hard of hearing due to my age” more than “deaf.”

      Aug 29, 2013 at 8:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.7   Mith

      TDD predate email, so why not?

      Aug 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.8   Raichu

      That was my interpretation, Redhead.

      Maybe because my older dog is going deaf, but she can still hear noises that are close enough to her, loud enough or high enough in pitch. She doesn’t hear nearly as well as she could. Sometimes when we’re talking about her we affectionately call her the “deaf old lady”.

      Of course, I wouldn’t use that descriptor for a deaf old human lady…

      Aug 30, 2013 at 9:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   EJ

    Middle name dropping guilt.
    But remember the old folks. They are awesome.

    Aug 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   The Elf

      Grandma dropped the middle names! That’s when you *know* you are in trouble. You’re going to be on Grandma’s list for a long, long time, Jessi.

      EJ – *some* old folks are awesome. Some are assholes. Just like the young folks. Age does not always bring wisdom!

      Aug 29, 2013 at 10:01 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   beady

      Who are these people who have more than one middle name?

      Aug 31, 2013 at 8:01 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.3   kermit

      Who are these people? How about rich people and royals?

      Sep 1, 2013 at 11:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.4   Jenn

      How about people who have legal and baptized middle names?

      Sep 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.5   The Elf

      How about people who kept their maiden name and added a married name. It’s clear that Jessica was named Jessica Elizabeth James at birth, then married a Mr. Hall and took his last name. She didn’t want to lose her old name entirely, so she tacked on the new. Makes sense to me.

      Sep 3, 2013 at 6:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   Poltergeist

    “A friend?”
    You’re not fooling anyone, Grandma.

    Aug 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   Daniel

    The g in “being” really makes “deaf” look like “dead.”

    Aug 28, 2013 at 10:27 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   K

    Three years away from being eighty? That’s not really that old. My grandma’s three years away from being a hundred. Maybe I’m just getting old.

    Aug 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   SeeYouInTea

      A lot of people lose/lost their grandparents before 80.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   Jessi

      I would imagine so. If an 80 year-old still has a living grandparent, we should probably study said grandparent.


      *Not the Jessi from this note.

      Aug 28, 2013 at 11:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   a-Arialist

      Mine too! They definitely get stroppier with time.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:12 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   SeeYouInTea

    This just make me sad. I haven’t seen my only grandma since May and I feel bad. Forget a phone call, go visit your goddamn Grandma, OP.

    Aug 28, 2013 at 10:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   a-Arialist

    And they only get better at guilt trips over time – my Grandma is three years away from being one hundred, and by God is she is Empress of Obligation!

    Aug 29, 2013 at 3:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Kristin

      Wow, almost 100? Congrats on your good genes! My grandma is 85, and she is queen of the family. If she tells you to take off all your clothes and roll around outside in the snow naked, you don’t question her. (Yeah…grandma’s never done that to anyone, that was just an example of how much power she wields.) However, a few years ago she guilted me into dragging her heavy-ass vacuum up the ladder into the attic to VACUUM THE ATTIC! Seriously, who does that? This isn’t a finished attic, and grandma doesn’t even go up there anymore. The only way into the attic is through a crawlspace inside a closet. You have to delicately pass through a 2 foot square door while trying not to gouge yourself with the exposed nails. Then you climb up a steep ladder made with 2x4s over exposed fiberglass insulation, while again trying not to scrape all the skin off your back on the exposed roofing nails or to touch the pink fluffy stuff too much (fiberglass under your skin is a witch). Then, once in the attic you have to try to remember not to stand up full height as you are likely to be stabbed in the head by more nails.

      She is an expert of passive aggressive, as she worded her question like so.

      Grandma: Kristin, will you take the vacuum up to the attic for me? My shoulder is stiff today. (She broke her collarbone a few years before this.)

      Me: *narrowed eyes, giving her the “are you insane” look*

      Grandma: I’d do it myself, but I live alone and I’m afraid no one would find me until my dead body started stinking.

      Me: *properly shamed by grandma’s allusion to her own death* Where’s the vacuum?

      Grandma: *happily points out that she dragged it upstairs herself in anticipation of my visit*

      Me: *much swearing as I am repeatedly stabbed by roofing nails on my way into the attic*

      Grandma: (calling up to me while I’m crouching in the scary, dark attic, peering into the gloom trying to figure out how long I have to pretend to vacuum to satisfy our esteemed leader) Oh, Kristin, will you take a look around, I think there are some bees living in the vent.

      Me: OH MY GOD!!! (as I realize the little things flying around me are not just floating dust or stars that I am seeing from conking my head on the beam while yanking the 50 pound vacuum up over the edge of the attic floor)

      I hope you enjoyed my little piece of reader’s theater. After the screaming ended I gracefully dove back down the ladder and out of attic hell, but then grandma made me go back up to rescue the vacuum.

      Love you Grammy!

      Sep 2, 2013 at 6:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   TRT

    Ha ha! Am I the only one who read that and heard “Harcourt! Harcourt Fenton Mudd!”

    Aug 29, 2013 at 4:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   haseo

    I’m more concerned with her middle name being James. WTF

    Aug 29, 2013 at 7:15 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Lil'

      Probably her maiden name. She was Jessi James. I like it.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 7:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   Jessi

    This is Jessi.

    She is not deaf. Just hard of hearing… and very dramatic.

    James is my maiden name.

    That’s all.

    I’m out.

    Aug 29, 2013 at 8:27 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   redheadwglasses

    I get similar messages of guilt from cousins via Facebook — cousins I won’t “friend,” so they have to send me private messages b/c I won’t let them post to my wall. I”m thinking, our one remaining grandparent is the biggest B in the county and she was an abusive nightmare of a parent, as well as a play-favorites grandma. I have no guilt about my last time ever seeing having been at my dad’s (her son’s) funeral in 2005. Like my mom said, “Well, at least I never have to see that woman again.”

    Aug 29, 2013 at 8:35 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Tom

    Guilting people never made anyone happy to talk to someone else.

    Maybe if grandma would strike up a real conversation rather than spend 40 minutes detailing how much the caller sucks, people would be more inclined to spend time with her.

    Aug 29, 2013 at 9:47 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   redheadwglasses

      Bingo, Tom. After that, I wouldn’t be calling grandma for a while.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 10:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   Raichu


      Aug 30, 2013 at 9:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   jazzgirl205

    My 90 yo mother believes that no one should complain on their own behalf. However, if she thinks you have slighted someone else – watch out!

    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   chistory

      I like that philosophy.

      Aug 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   Ace of Space

    In my head I’m hearing: “Hey! I’m dying over here! Call me before I kick the bucket!”

    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Laura

    My grandmother lived to nearly 103, and the last five years or so she couldn’t see or hear very well. But she was still sharp as a tack, so she basically spent all her time keeping track of just how long it had been since who called her or visited, who said they’d visit and then didn’t, who had and hadn’t sent her a birthday card, etc. It honestly got to be hilarious because she was SO GOOD at the guilt, and she was so old that she had us all running around like chickens with our heads cut off to fulfill her every whim.

    She would have written this note, except she would have signed her name! She was never shy about delivering her messages of guilt. I still miss her every day. She was one of a kind. Which is probably a good thing. :)

    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   redheadwglasses

      My coworker’s MIL died last week at age 103. Perfect health, not a single prescription drug. But blind, deaf and and she had dementia. Your grandma sounds like a hoot! And what are you gonna do? Be made at a 100+ year old woman who just wants to see you again before she dies?

      Aug 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   Quite Contrary

    And it’s worse if the grandparents are on facebook. True story.

    Aug 29, 2013 at 1:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   verklempt

      My grandma had facebook for a while. She decided though after a while that it was “all too much” and decided to shut down her account. Turns out she thought the newsfeed was all personal messages to her and that she had to reply to every single one. Poor grandma.

      Sep 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   Jami

    I’d be freaked out if either of my grandmas sent me a guilt trip card.

    My paternal one died before I was 10 years old of a brain tumor that the doctors said started as skin cancer.

    My maternal one died when I was 16 suddenly of a heart attack.

    Getting a “Jami, come visit your grandma” card would be really scary. Especially if it smelled of brimstone….

    Aug 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   The Elf

      Me too, Jami. That’s exactly what I was thinking. I lost both grandmothers in my teenage years, so any visit your grandma card would have me thoroughly weirded out!

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   H for Toy

      The last time I saw my last surviving grandparent (my grandmother) before she passed, she called me Mata Hari. I can’t imagine what kind of card I’d receive. Though, she may not have dementia in the afterlife.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.3   Jami

      *hugs H*

      My grandpa Russell has Alzheimer’s and I still want to cry when I think about how when he saw me when I was about 10 he mistook me for his son, Dana, who had died when he was 13 when he had an accident while riding his bike down a hill.

      Never knew my grandpa Pavlick. He died five years before I was born cause he was a heavy pipe smoker.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.4   H for Toy

      Thanks, Jami :) you’re a sweetheart! The good part is, she had been completely lucid for the two weeks of my visit prior to that, and was even able to spend time with my kids, so I’m actually glad I didn’t have to watch her go downhill, mentally. Maybe it was the way I wore my makeup or something. I’m not sure; but my aunt and I had a chuckle over it, and it’s actually kind of a fond memory. She lived til I was 34, so I have many other great memories of her.

      Aug 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.5   Redheadwglasses

      Pavlick? I love those old world names! Where was he from? My Irish side came overin the early 1800s, Bernard and brigit Burke. Brigit’s father was Kivil. I love that odd name. I don’t have kids to reuse the name, so I named a world of Warcraft toon it instead. ; )

      Aug 30, 2013 at 9:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.6   Jami

      It used to be spelled Pavlik. They added the C at Ellis Island.

      They’re suppose to be from Slovenia. However, we found out that my great-grandparents had come to America after one of their twin sons was kidnapped. They did a lot of traveling at first trying to find him. Then, worried the other would be taken they came to America. Somewhere along the way they changed their last name about four different times to try and hide they fact they were Jewish.

      So whatever their name was originally I really don’t know.

      My maternal grandma’s maiden name was Voytko, sometimes spelled Vojtko, and many other spellings. They also changed their last names repeatedly also to hide that they were Jewish.

      Can we say “Yay for family mysteries”?

      Dad’s side is Russell, Converse, and supposedly on the Converse side there’s a distant relation to Sarah Winchester – yes, as in Winchester Mystery House. Not sure exactly the relationship, I do know her sister married a Converse, but there’s also suppose to be a distant blood relation there too between Sarah and me.

      Aug 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   Brian H

    My great grandmother had 11 children so there were always grand and great grand kids visiting and checking on her. She was so sweet. She made me fried pies that were so good. I don’t remember her ever guilting anyone. She was just happy to see her kin.

    Aug 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   Redheadwglasses

    My great aunt Sadie lived alone until around 101, then she fell and broke a bone and had to go into a home. Her 80yo daughter lives across the street from that home, so Sadie got visits every day. We tried visiting her several times and she always had company so we rarely got to spend much time with her. Nice problem to have. Most nursing home residents aren’t so lucky.

    Good Sadie story: when she moved into the home at 101, she qualified for the best room(bay window, bird feeders outside to watch, etc) because she was the oldest resident, but they weren’t going to kick the other woman out just so Sadie could have the good room. Ten in the middle of the night, Sadie woke up when she heard the “code blue” page. Se figured out what was going on. She called her daughter Margaret at 4 a.m. and said, “Margaret, be here at 6:00, I am finally getting the good room!”

    Aug 30, 2013 at 9:35 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   Tard

    To be serious for just a second here, unless you dislike your parents/grandparents, don’t become ‘too busy’ to stay in touch, because one day you will really regret it.

    I did and now I do and it feels really shitty.

    Aug 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   wallas

      Honestly I don’t regret it, but my family is more like a bunch of acquaintances to me anyway. I was born without the gene that allows me to recognize familial love or something.

      Sep 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   oldnorthstate

    “If you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t come to yours”.

    Yogi Berra

    Aug 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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