My grandmother used to do this thing.
Back then I called it getting on my nerves although now I would probably classify it as wisdom. It was simple really; she would ask, “Are you ready yet?” This phrase was almost always heard echoing down the hallways of our summer house in Tyler, Texas where one of us grandchildren wasn’t getting ready when we pinky promised we would.
There are not enough fingers and toes between the 4 of us grandchildren for me to count the number of times I answered, “yes” when I should’ve said, “no.” I would brush my teeth under my bed, sneak breakfast I hadn’t finished into the car, and my mothers’ ultimate pet peeve–continue to exclaim, “Nobody told me I was supposed to be getting ready.” I would do everything within my power to push the responsibility of me getting ready and my lack of such onto everybody else. But, no matter what tactic I employed my grandmother would never play into it. She would always respond with a very level headed, “Alright.”
I hated when she did that.
What I needed in those moments of “I can’t find my socks/I haven’t finished my juice yet/and can I watch the end of Recess?” was an empathetic ear. But, no. No matter how hard I pouted or how many fake tears I mustered all I ever got was an “alright.” And even though I was only about 12 and wasn’t allowed to say the words; I knew that this game she was playing was absolute bullsh*t.
So one day, I did something she hated.
I hid one of her shoes, turned up the stove so that the biscuits would burn (thus ruining breakfast), and unplugged her perfectly heated curling iron. I destroyed her routine. Meanwhile, I finished my breakfast (which had also burned–something I, for some reason, didn’t consider), brushed my teeth, and put on my perfectly pressed Sunday dress. Then, I stood in the hallway with my hands on my hips and screamed, “GRANDDOT- ARE YOU READY!?”
She came around the corner in her gown, hair still undone, make-up only half completed and said, “No—But, you are.”
I was defeated– and mostly just annoyed that I had missed half of “One Saturday Morning” trying to sabotage my grandmothers plans. I collapsed in the hallway and crossed my arms. My grandmother began laughing. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed until eventually she started to cry.
I hated that moment.
She watched me sulk for about 5 minutes before she grew bored with the charade and asked what was wrong. I explained that I just wanted her to feel how I feel when I’m rushed and not ready. I wanted her to know that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I’m just not ready. Then, like a true grandma, she leaned down and said, “I know. And, that’s alright.”
So for those of you wondering how work has been since “the week from hell” and if I made good and forgave my coworkers the short answer is no. But, that’s because sometimes, you just aren’t ready to make nice.
And that’s alright.