A continuation of my previous call with my grandma.
I always get emotional during phone calls with my grandma and it always begins with me getting annoyed at her.
I get annoyed at how she always tells me to work hard at school, as if it is the hardest thing in the world and I am failing miserably. She always talks about how school is something that no one can take away from me, how education is for myself and I can’t “give” it to my mom or dad. She talks about how I might get a job if I’m “lucky” and everything else that belittles me, even though I am doing well in school and have been managing multiple part-time jobs for the last five years.
She never asks me about anything that goes on in my life – about what makes me happy or what makes me sad, people who are important to me or anything that I am excited about in the near future. The most annoying part is that she can tell that I’m not really listening to her and I am ashamed to admit that.
I want to love my grandma deeply – not the shallow love where I love her because she is my grandma, but I don’t know anything about her and she is so old and far away. I feel like I will never be able to understand her the way I want her to understand me.
She says she is too old to visit me in Canada, too old to know anything about the world to tell me anything, and it is all so sad how she sits by herself in a tiny apartment in Hong Kong, pondering about when would be a good time to call her granddaughters (Are they busy with school work? Not at home at all?) and weeks pass and months pass and finally everyone is available to talk on the phone, but the granddaughters are not really listening.
I feel so uncomfortable talking to her and to be honest, I find myself avoiding initiating any phone calls with my grandma. I feel guilt, distance, and awkwardness every time silence falls into our short conversation, every time I just say, “Yes, I understand”, and every time I pass the receiver back to my dad in relief.
I know my grandma still loves me. She has never directly said it, but there are many ways people can say, “I love you.” My grandma says, “I love you” when she wishes me success and health, when she worries about me getting a job or how my grades are in school, and when she says, “Well, I won’t bother you now. You must be tired and you should rest for work/school.”
I’m not sure if I can fix my relationship with my grandma. Our values are so different, our knowledge of each other so lacking, and our time together is diminishing at such a rapid pace. Yesterday I found out my grandma is over 90 years-old. It is such an achievement but all she can say is that she is “useless” now.
What else can I do except try not to let her hear me cry on the other line when I say, “Goodbye”?