Christmas from Grandma

It’s december, I’m a grandmother, my shopping should be all finished now, the gifts should be wrapped and labeled waiting to be given.

I don’t even have gifts for most people yet. Mainly because I’ve not got the disposable income to buy everyone a gift. I’m only giving to family and friends who I know give things in return. It’s a little selfish, there’s people who I know won’t give me anything but I’d love to give to but realistically I can’t.

So how am I going to survive a commercially based holiday with no money for gifts? I’m not. I’m going to get yelled at by Andi that I hate her and her son because I didn’t get them anything. My son is going to be hugely disappointed when he gets something handmade, and I’m going to pretend I don’t care when really I’m going to be offended that my labours aren’t more appreciated.

I lie about Andi, she’ll probably be doing the same thing, since she has nothing. But George? I’m not so sure he’ll accept a crochet owl hat, or mittens, or something like that. And Sandy is a baby, so he won’t really care all he’ll want is the wrapping paper.

Other people? Well, there’s some people who will not accept a handmade gift as an actual gift, even though it takes so much more effort. So for my mother-in-law I’ve bought a DVD boxset, and some books. For my husband’s uncle (my family is weird) I got some alcohol, not booze, this stuff is classy. Otherwise, I’m stuck. That already cost more than I have to spend. Andi wants a camera, but would also like a tablet, the Galaxy Tab 3 is almost affordable, and the basic cameras are arond £50. So that’s a difficult choice. George’s present is money, going towards a school trip to Italy.

Sandy is by far the easiest to buy for. He’s one, it’s actually his second Christmas, but his first he was only a fortnight old. I’m planning on crocheting a little hat, and possibly a scarf for him. His mum can’t crochet so it’s more appreciated. Otherwise I’ll probably just get him books, or toys.

Family wise we have four stockings, we’re buying small things for each other, because we’ve not got the money for big things. And we’re making things too. It was Andi’s idea, but it seemed the easiest and cheapest. We’ve been throwing ideas at each other about things to buy and make, and this is it so far.

Andi – A crochet owl hat. A bag for her tablet, I’m planning on making a change bag based around her tablet, if she gets one that is. A book of some description, H.G. Wells? A notebook might be nice, for her to jot down ideas. Possibly a slouchy crochet hat too, with some kind of chunky flower, maybe a scarf to match. A voucher for eBooks|

George – Deodorant. Shower gel. A video game. Some kind of book. Possibly a notebook. Headphones. Andi will no doubt get him condoms.

Sandy – A crochet owl hat. A scarf. Another kind of book, dinosaurs I guess. A colouring book, maybe some crayons, although he’s a little young. And he’ll get a tablet… A pair of sewn dungarees would be good.

Gin – Gin? Is it wrong that I don’t know what I want? I’d say cheap jewellery, but it’s a waste of money because I’ve already got so much. Crochet hooks? Wool, I want chunky wool. A wooly flower broach.

I’d love to hear other people’s ideas too.

The Ultimatum

I’m putting this on here so my son knows I’m serious and I’m not just wanting him to do more housework for no reason.

Andi has been in France for a little over a year, she’s got Sandy with her all the time, she’s a single mum, entirely on her own with little to no help. I’d love to be there to help and support her when she needs it. I get to visit every three months if I’m lucky, but can I afford to visit? Well, not really, we’ve got credit cards for that. Can I afford those? Nope, the debt is getting a little big and I have no idea how I’m going to pay it back.

So why do I even bother visiting? I go for a few days and I’ve got my son, George complaining that he wants to go home, then Sandy doesn’t really know who I am, and Andi just wants to talk and go out while talking more, and not sleep because she wants to chat. I’m too old for this and it ends up exhausting me. For a week after I question why I went because I’m so drained. I go because I want to see Sandy, I want to be a stable part of his life. By coming and going so much and for staying for such sort times I have to reestablish my relationship every single visit. I want to go see him more, monthly, weekly, all the time if I could, he’s a lovely little boy and I’ve missed so much. The next time I visit he’ll probably be walking, and I might miss those wobbly steps, the first couple of weeks where it is so cute. Things like this make me sad, I miss my daughter, but I miss my grandson more. I want to help with him, I want to babysit, take him walking, anything, I don’t want him forgetting me like Andi used to her grandparents.

Meanwhile I’m stuck here, in southern england, in a town that is okay at best. George, is ungrateful at times. He complains if I say I want to move to France to be closer to Sandy, he says he wants to finish school, finish failing school is more accurate. He doesn’t do anything to help around the house, and It’s not that I don’t like him, but he infuriates me sometimes. He doesn’t seem to care about the rest of us, about what I want, and what seems to be the best option.

He will not do anything for himself and expects me to wait on him. I do all the housework, all the cooking and cleaning. He rarely leaves his room, he will not even eat a meal with me and that means I’m rattling around in a three (possibly four) bedroom house almost alone. Keeping it tidy is hard where he won’t help, this house is really a two person job if there is any more than one person living here. I have more space than I need, it’s actually more space than I know what to do with and it’s turned me into a bit of a hoarder. I’ve got so much pointless crap. Since my husband died I’ve been trying to renovate and redecorate, but because of the DIY the house is a mess, there’s two rooms that have had everything unceremoniously dumped in them, and because of George not being able to cook or clean anything I don’t get the time to sort it out. I’m not 100% sure what half the stuff is, a lot of it belonged to my husband, some of it was Andi’s and isn’t wanted or needed and the rest? Well, I don’t know.

Andi was helping, she’d choose colours, help me budget, help with the work, and just be there to talk to even if she was too pregnant to do the actually work. She was company, at times depressing, drunken company, at others happy and hyper, but she was there for me and for us. 

So I’ve decided, George can stay here, in the UK to finish his school if he helps me get the house tidy by 2014. He’s got just over a month, I’ll give him longer if he actually makes an effort. However, If he makes no effort, I’m getting rid of almost everything, going back to the essentials and moving to France. He’s failing school, so he can fail school in French. Anything that is any use to someone, books, DVDs, knitting supplies, toys, will get sold or put into charity shops, the rest, bin. It’s about time I had a huge clear our anyway, I’ve been putting it off for so long. This seems like the best option anyway, because like this I can free up the money from the house and pay off my debts, and I get to see Sandy on a regular basis. I’ll not get back the things I’ve missed, but at least I won’t miss more. When he gets to 16 or 18? I’m thinking he should learn to survive on his own.

I’m going to add this in as well, so George remembers. I want him sleeping sensible hours, going to bed before midnight, and waking up before 9am. I also want him going out, either shopping (for things other than food) either alone or with me a few times a month. I’d like to see him walk into the local town and go out, and I want him to do some Christmas shopping this year. Normally he is selfish and doesn’t buy anyone anything. Not even online, he won’t even look for gifts. I don’t like having  a son who has no life in the real world, at the moment he has no prospects either, he spends all his time on Animal Crossing, it’s pathetic. Yeah, a few hours a week I can accept, but all the time after school, it’s too much.

I miss Andi. I want to be near her again. I’m not saying I want her back living with me, she’s 20, she is old enough, and capable of living on her own, however if she was within walking distance, or even a bus ride I’d be so happy. She’s also fiercely independent, so might not want to live with me, but she wants me in France, she said so when she stole my passport.

And when I weigh up the options, I’m old, I’m closer to 60 now, my mum died in her 60’s, so I know I might not have long left, I’m planning on another 30 years, but expecting another 10. If I were to get the terminally ill diagnosis like my mum and husband did I know in a heartbeat what I’d do, I’d move to be with Andi, so why wait until I get sick? I’d rather go when healthy and be happy.

If I don’t like it there (unlikely) I can always come back.

I’d love to hear advice for things I can do to motivate and encourage my teenage son to be more social and helpful.