"I got a letter? Who the shit mails a letter anymore?" - Me.
I use to think my grandma hated me. Who knows, maybe she does. I am the son of the family's black sheep. It seemed like no matter what I did it was never good enough. There always seemed to be an issue or an off-centered comment in all of our interactions. It only seemed to get worse as time went on.
My grandma, my father's mother, was dealt a tough hand. She lived in an orphanage in Philadelphia, was eventually adopted and got married. That marriage ended in divorce, which was a way bigger deal then than it is now. This left her alone with too many children and a household to manage. I met my biological grandpa twice in my life, and I remember him being a dick anyway. So, reflecting on it now, I can see why she was miserable; or at least seemed to be. She did eventually re-marry to a wonderful man who I consider to be my real grandfather regardless if we are related by blood or not. RIP Marvin.
Throughout life, even if it was a birthday, graduation, or life event, it always seemed to be one step forward and two steps back with her. She would wish me a happy birthday and in the next breath tell me to go back to school and my car needed to be washed. All our conversations seem to hover at a 30,000-foot level. No matter what I could not seem to break through and connect with her. It did not help that later in life she did let me use her house to start a production company. We were essentially rent free, but there were a few rules. I could not party or drink there. What did I do? I partied and drank there. I was 23. What did I expect from myself? We did accomplish work, and grew our business, but that was a moot point. No matter how I tried to explain it to her, it was irrelevant. She found a beer bottle. I broke the rule. I was out. Business. Over.
A few years went by and I moved all over the country, took my career more seriously, and gained some more life experience. I reflected on my relationship with her. A few years back, I decided to start calling her more often - all my family actually - to make sure I was doing my best to remove any roadblocks that could prevent our relationship from growing. The first few calls were awkward - terrible in fact. She would wonder what I wanted, if I was asking for money, or if I needed her help with no return on investment. I ensured her all I wanted to do was talk and check in.
It took a while to regain trust and show her that I was no longer a 23-year-old moron. Our calls have gotten more pleasant, and this past week I received a handwritten letter from her. We have turned a new leaf! I could not believe it. I was in shock and excited. Getting something in the mail from Amazon is one thing, but getting a handwritten letter is something completely different. I set it aside and made time to read it without distraction. A personalized letter is special. She informed me about how she was doing, how her friends are and wished me and Jamie well.
I am writing her back now and using a typewriter to do it. I want her to have a personalized message from me. A text can be ignored, an email can be deleted, but a typed or handwritten document is personal. I am glad she and I are on better terms. It took a while, but we did it.
Love ya, grandma.