Hello everyone! Hope you guys had a terrific weekend. I spent my Saturday with my grandma as R had to work, and then we spent Sunday gallivanting around. My mom had a window curtain set she purchased a few years ago that she took with her when she moved, but she needed an additional valence as her window was now bigger. Of course, I went to the store to find out it was discontinued but one store had ONE left, and this store happened to be around 20 miles away. Since I knew it would make my mom happy (and her current set wouldn’t go to waste) I went there and picked it up today.
While in an area we don’t normally go to, we decided to stop at a mall nearby as I inherited a $25 gift card from Macy’s from my mom. Apparently, there are none in the area she moved to, and she didn’t have time to get up to one before leaving. It was four floors total and guess what I left with? Yep, nothing. For some reason I could not find anything to buy. I really don’t need any more clothes, and everything else was pretty expensive, even with taking the gift card into consideration. So I decided to hold off for now, but I was really amused that I could have gotten something for free and held back from getting something “just because.” I am really trying not to bring anything else into the apartment unless absolutely necessary.
My Grandma’s Garage – One Stop Shop
I wanted to write a post featuring my grandma, because it’s kind of a running joke in my family that her garage is a mini-store. I have not had to buy any paper goods since moving, because she has everything I could possibly need. Dish detergent, laundry detergent (if I had a W/D), paper towels, toilet paper, tea bags, coffee, tissues, the list goes on. I took pictures for the full effect:
It’s also a bit amusing because her best friend’s garage was even worse, if you could imagine that. We helped her move, and there was a LOT of stuff we had to pack away in there. She had been holding on to things for so long I didn’t recognize the brands! An aside note – I didn’t even get to take a picture of the little closet my grandma has stuffed with cans of tomato sauce and other condiments, as well as pasta, so there is more to it than just that.
Honestly, I would never do this because it’s almost hoarding, except that it’s “useful” stuff. My mom’s pantry was overflowing as well, and so many items just sat there for years. For my grandma, it’s a bit of a different story. She is incredibly selfless and thoughtful. If something is on sale, she stocks up as she knows everyone in the family can benefit from it. There have been countless times where my mom and I made a stop to her house after grocery shopping to pick up items. It helps cut down on grocery costs, as I have a few less things to worry about. She also keeps a constant supply so I know she will never be out of stock! Once my grandma knows we like something, such as a certain candy or snack, she never fails to bestow a bag of goodies upon us. She is amazing and goes above and beyond for her family, and I don’t know where we would be without her continuous help.
In addition to her limitless pantry, whenever we go there for lunch or dinner, we never fail to leave with leftovers. My grandma loves to push food on us, and I miss my mom’s cooking already, so I am lucky to have a substitute. I really am very grateful for all the help she has given us. If we ever have a family gathering we all leave with more than we came with.
Letting Pride Get In the Way
While my mom was here, she was never particularly fond of taking things from my grandma. In a sense, I can understand why – she has been independent for decades now, and she didn’t want to have to turn back to her mother for help, even when she needed it. I would constantly tell her she was being foolish for buying what she could get for free from my grandma, from the store. It was a losing battle for both of them. If we ever go shopping with my grandma she will pick up the whole bill for everything – insisting that it’s not a problem. My mom would sigh every time and tell her it’s not necessary. I want to mention that my grandma never treated us like a charity case – it was always from the goodness of her heart – but it is difficult not to feel bad after a while.
My grandma has been collecting my grandpa’s pension money since he passed away a year before I was born, and being single is a bit less expensive than having to feed a family, but she is not made of money. I don’t want her to feel like she has to provide for me in lieu of my mom and dad being gone, but I know she does sort of feel like a surrogate mom at this point. I am the grandchild that is closest to her and I know she cherishes the close relationship we have, but I wish I could repay her. In a sense, I know that my weekly presence makes her happy as I can’t imagine living alone is much fun, so I always make the effort to go see her. If she doesn’t hear from me for a few days you can bet she will be calling me saying, “Well hello stranger!” For right now, I am not going to let my pride get in the way – I can use all the help I can get, and if it makes her happy to give, I’m not going to deny her that.
I know this can be a big issue for many with generous parents/grandparents. I think the best thing to do is take it in stride – most family members are giving because they want to. When I moved into my apartment, my aunt surprised me with packing up her entire old set of silverware plus cookware and I gladly accepted. There is no use in being stubborn and insisting on spending hundreds of dollars when my family is offering it for free. For the most part, it was just taking up room in their houses and they were happy to get rid of it.
Has anyone else been faced with accepting food/goods from relatives? How did you handle it and feel about it? Does anyone have trouble managing their pantry, or know someone that has a mini-mart in theirs? Or has anyone ever had a gift card which they found difficult to put to use?