Long Distance Operator

When my sweet little daughter Fiona was born, my mother was still living the high life of the Pretender in California. I called Mother the day after my daughter’s birth to let her know about the darling new baby. The first thing out of Mother’s mouth after I told her the baby’s name was:

How could you name her Fiona? What will you call her?

I repeated her name and said we would call her Fiona (that is a little trick I like to call “Logic”, which includes a wacky system where we do crazy things such as give a name to a child and then call the child by their given name). Mother then told me all the terrible nicknames others would use. And of course, being Mother and never one to take any ownership of made-up problems she was ranting about, she wanted to know what I intended to do about it.

Typical Mary. Always looking at the dark side of life. She knew how to take the wind out of your sails better than anybody.

Mother did not see Fiona until she was a toddler. And on the occasion of finally meeting her granddaughter, Mother of course again had to tell me that she thought she was too small, too fine-featured, too short etc. Oh and of course she also had to remind us that my daughter was “named wrong.” Mother seemed to have a whole list of criticisms in her twisted mind, ready to be unleashed on all of us.

Many years passed before Mother saw my daughter again. Mother loved having a grandson and granddaughter from afar. Her method of parenting by proxy was once again painfully obvious to all of us. She was best at being a long distance grandmother. The longer the distance, the more she enjoyed the grandchildren.

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