General

So Mom’s visiting from Jamaica

Written by JJ

It’s been 3 years since we’ve seen her and while we are happy to, she’s only been here 3 days and we are ready to send her on her way.

First, she raised hell about the 30lbs of pork that we have in the deep freeze. (she’s 7th Day Adventist….)Frankly, we are not and we have no intention of giving up the other white meat.

Next morning, she’s on the front porch taking out her curlers and “fixing her hair” while all the neighbors are wondering if she is crazy or not!!

Then off to lunch to a Chinese restaurant in the City. And I should have remembered what happened the last time and put a stop to her meal request. She orders a whole red snapper, coupled with all the spices favored by the Chinese folks; the waitress brings it out and a big plate, the people around us are “oooh’ing and aah’ing” when they smell it and see it.

The first darn thing that Mom does, is grab the fork, separate the head from the fish, picked it up with her hands and proceeds to suck the head out!!!
So while the boys are laughing, Me, Mel and Britt are sitting there speechless as Mom goes to town on the fish head. Other people are speechless too and pretty much in shock and I am about to explode!!!

Mel notions to me to keep my mouth shut!! I do, but I don’t know for how long! We stop at Walmart to get her some stuff. Mel and Britt are hanging with her and the boys are with me. I’m 2 aisles over and I here the most God awful belch that scares the hell out of the boys and somebody saying “tank yuh Jesus”. (SIGH)…Mom again!!!

Britt comes around the corner and tells me that Mel wants me to go to the vehicle with the boys and wait. As I walk by the aisle where Mom is, some of the people I see are either laughing their rear off or just standing there…once again….shocked!!

I remind myself that I love this woman and just head to the car.

About 10 minutes later, we are on our way home. Mel, Britt and Mom are chattin up a storm…the patois is flying and they keep asking me “what did Mom just say”. I don’t answer, I’m too ticked off!!

Ok, so it’s Friday morning and Mel decides that she wants to take Mom to the garage sales so she can grab some stuff for some of the less fortunate kids back home in the neighborhood church. I tell Mel that it’s a bad idea (taking Mom) but she insists. I remind Mel that he last time she visited, we were living in the “sticks” basically, the closest neighbor being a half a mile away and Mom could get away with being herself. We live dead smack in the middle of town now……..and Mom is yet again intent on being herself!!

They leave!!! This could get ugly!!

I didn’t realize just how ugly it got until Britt calls in a panic and says, “come get Granma”. I said to myslef, “Oh God, what now?”

I pull up the garage sale location, take one look, tell Mel, “this was your idea” and drive off!!

[what was it?]

Apparently when they left earlier, it was still a little cool (about 68…yes it’s June I know). Mom had been wearing a light jacket of mine and had her head wrap on to cover her curlers. When it got warmer, Mom had removed the jacket to reveal that she was not wearing a bra under the T-shirt she was wearing (ok you get the picture) and removed the head wrap revealing the brightly colored curlers. Not only that but as I pulled up, she was huggin on the Police Chief who had stopped to visit one of the City Council members who was having the garage sale!!

I’m on the phone calling my sister now to get her a flight to Miami then on to JA so she can deal with her. I’m trying to remind myslef that she is 73 years old, set in her Jamaican ways,……. but I still have to live in this town. People around here at one time found it hard to believe that I was Jamaican…….but not after meeting Mom!!!

Worse, the folks at work have requested that I bring her up to the office so that they can meet her…..

Nnnnnnooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

(It’s Saturday morning….her Sabbath….Mel’s shopping day, the kids play day, my time away to myself day…..wait…..the house is quiet, where is Mom?

I just called Mel, they are out doing the garage sale thing again!!!!)

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I have to tell you guys and I will be totally honest you:

I am very happy to have her with us,and I enjoy the time we get to share with her. My kids just adore her, especially the boys who love the chance to tell everyone they meet that their “Jamaican Grandma” is here.

The relationship between her and Mel has improved alot. There was a time when Mel couldn’t wait for her to leave because they just could not get along. Mom was always intent on telling her just how she needed to take care of her son and Mel had serious issues with that.

I have to compete with her and the kids (although sometimes they have no clue what she is saying and have to ask me)for any time with Mom…..fine by me. Someone asked in one of the threads if I was ashamed of or had abandoned my culture. NO WAY!!!

I am very proud of who I am and have denied my heritage or culture, in fact you could say that I am very proud of it.

Right now, Mom and I are sitting on the front porch talking about the old neighborhood (Spanish Town)….(have the laptop going as we speak), the people we once knew, where they are now versus where I am today. I’m cracking up at her because evrytime I ask her about a certain place, she replies “dung deh mash up man”. It feels really good to play catch up and I’m actually starting to miss “home” and anticipating the upcoming visit even more.

I guess I would attribute my reaction to Mom’s actions this morning and the previous days to the current everyday culture, people, environment. People here are just not used to seeing this kind of stuff!!!

I have 3 weeks with her and I intend to make the most of it. Mel is bringing her to the office next week for a visit and I’m just gonan let her loose.

And pon dih smaddy who tink seh mi is a female poster!!! (checking to make sure the ding ding is still there…(phew)…Tank yuh Jesus).

[The boys with Mom right after she landed, dress in their night clothes. They hopped out of bed after their sister told them I was heading to the airport to get Jamaican Grandma:]

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SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE

Despite the fact that Mom is 7th Day Adventist, she decided that she wanted to go to Church with us on Sunday morning..[we’re Baptist].

Mel was getting dressed and tried on a skirt she had bought the day before. She said, ” I don’t like this skirt, it makes me look too big, I’ll see if your mom wants it.”

I watch as she walks up to Mom and says ” Mom, do you want this skirt I just bought yesterday? I don’t like it, it makes me look too big.”

Mom replied “but you are big!!”

Holy Crap!!!!!

I make a quick exit to the front door because the war was on and I wanted no part of it!!

A few minutes later, we are pile up in the van heading to church. Mom is humming some tune, Mel is *****, Britt is *****, the boys are fighting and I am keeping my mouth shut.

We get to church, I introduce Mom to the Pastor and some of the folks. She’s being reserved and behaving (fingers crossed).

She sits at the far end, Britt sits between me and Mel. The boys head off to children’s church. Now, the Pastor likes to have bible verses projected on the screen behind him when he makes reference to them during the sermon. Each time one pops up, Mom would read aloud right along with him, sometimes drowning out the poor man. I’m kinda dark, but I’m sure I was visibly red from 2 miles away. I leaned over and politely said, “Mom please be quiet“. She “kissed” her teeth at me and said “gwaan wey bwoy, chuh man” and proceeds to hum again!!!

(You know, I though 7th Day Adventist were pretty reserved people who kept quiet in church, but I think Mom’s old pentecostal self was resurfacing…seriously!!)

AFTER CHURCH!!

We head to Springfield, Mel needed some stuff from the Mall and we were going out to eat. (NO FISH HEAD THIS TIME FOR SURE!!)

We leave the kids and Mom int he van and head inside the mall. I can tell that Mel is still mad as hell but I hold her hand, and tell her it’s going to be ok. We get back to the van and Andy is upset and crying. Britt is fuming and about ready to explode.

This time I take the lead, motion to Mel to be quiet and ask what happened. Apparently Mom had decided to chomp on the boys really hard for being rowdy in the van and then began comparing them to one of my sister’s boys and at times telling them that they are nowhere close to being as good as her kids!! Oh crap again!!

Mel floors the van and heads for Applebee’s (I think she needs a drink really bad….me too I think).

Mel sits with the boys and I sit with Mom, Britt between us! Andy is upset the whole time, Mel is fuming, Nate is rebelling, Britt is still ****, I am caught in the middle…Mom is till humming that darn song!!!

On the way home, Andy calls Mel’s Mom and tells her to come and get him and Nate. They are spending the night. I guess the feeling is mutual now because I hate every bone in my mother-in-law’s body and try to keep my boys away from her, but I realize that they need the break!!

The boys leave, Britt jumps in her car and leaves. Mel and I go out back. She’s ready for Mom to go and wants me to go and tell her that she needs to apologize to the kids. The phone rings, it’s my sister. She wants to talk to Mom. I overhear Mom telling her that she is staying for 3 weeks before heading back to Miami to see her!!

(Mel is not going to like this) ….

I head to the kitchen and mix myself a Rum & Coke (don’t judge me…dem drink inna dih bible).

It looks likes it’s going to be a long 3 weeks.

(More to come…………..I sure of it).

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TWO WEEK UPDATE

Mom’s still hear, Mel’s still mad, the kids are being tolerant and as usual, I’m the middle. She’s mellowed out a little bit but still her old self.

I left on Saturday morning for a 3-day fishing trip (don’t remember much..Mmmmm, I wonder if it had anything to do with the alcohol consumption? The crew hasn’t filled me in on any of Mom’s antics while I was away, so I will have to get some info.

Mom’s heading to Florida this weekend before heading back to JA. I think she’s rebelling somewhat because she hasn’t cooked for us since she got here. Normally she hits the kitchen and I can expect something authentic at least once during the visit, but not this time.

I may have to take Mom out for some one on one Mother-Son time. There is some static between her and Mel, not so much with the kiddos. I need to see if I can get them back to being friends.

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JJ