March 13, 2017

Dad was a Mommy's boy

My Mom said on numerous occasions that my Dad was a "Mommy's Boy". He would go over to her house to help her. When we got a new refrigerator he dragged the old one to her house and things like that. My mother felt that she was always calling him with the "poor me, I'm old and ill and I need help" routine. 

Looking at it now through the eyes of an adult I don't know that I see it that way. 

We were as kids very close with my maternal grandparents. My mother was a very gentle gal who had her share of physical problems. She had a number of surgeries such as her appendix out, her gallbladder out, parts of her stomach removed and she died of cancer in her  40's. For the physical needs my maternal grandmother was there at our house quite often watching us kids.  My grandmother was an emotionally strong person with very definite ideas about most everything. Let me make it clear that I adored her. I understood her because maybe I have a very similar out-there personality. Mom was just the opposite. She thought the best of everyone but she really let grandma's strong personality run roughshod over her. Grandma never spoke well of Dad's family. "They were clingy, they were cheap, they were needy, they were goofy Swedes" etc.  I loved her so much and with my similar unbending personality I basically bought it.

That attitude by my maternal grandmother plus the fact that my paternal grandparents were already old and elderly when I came along left me with very little knowledge of who my paternal grandparents really were. Doing my family history I learn more and more of who they were when young, where they came from and what life threw at them and they had to deal with, with limited resources. I now have pictures of them young, healthy, working. I have heard from cousins, second cousins who had good opinions, who really liked my paternal grandparents. I also am now a grandmother myself and sometime find myself feeling a bit annoyed (yes I know it is unreasonable) that another couple has the all out gall to claim MY grandchildren as also their grandchildren. Shades of my maternal grandma isn't it?

Dad, the "Momma's boy" was a good son. My paternal grandparents both had severe rheumatoid arthritis, in a time when there was next to none of the medications, surgeries, modalities that are available today. He was the closest son as my uncle Al lived in California and also had bad arthritis. Of course he helped them and I do not think we ever suffered or went without because of what he did for them. If anything we spent way more time as a family with my maternal grandparents. 

You can love someone dearly and still disagree with them. I loved, admired and on many levels can only hope to be the great gal my maternal grandmother was but in this respect she was wrong. Dad was no "Mommy's Boy". He loved, respected and helped his parents as he should. Grandma used to say "you are half Norwegian and half Swedish but just tell people you are Norwegian. That Swedish part is a shame." She said it sort of tongue in cheek, like the joke always going around between Norwegians and Swedes. I must have bought it because for years I would tell people I was of Norwegian ancestry and then sheepishly added, "and half Swedish but I'm not supposed to admit that."

Well... my maternal Grandma, the bull-headed, generous, energetic, Bible thumping, straight talking, hard-working, never say die, fun-loving Norwegian is still number one with me, but

I am American of Norwegian AND Swedish descent. Deal with it grandma.

Grandma and Dad (the Mommy's Boy)