Monday, July 11, 2011

Problem Solved

Being  a parent means being a problem solver. I have been through so many situations where I had to search for the answers that I can't count them. But this is one I wouldn't have guessed.

"Could you do something about Nan?"

These are the words Littlest put to her Dad recently.

"She won't stop trying to tell me I shouldn't join the Marines and now she decided I'm a lesbian."

Ok. Awkward.

Some stuff about Littlest.

 Littlest is not a girly girl. She likes to wear a dress and heels occasionally and she uses makeup and perfume. She likes being a girl. She is feminine. She is also strong. She is very self possesed and composed. She isn't 'silly' about boys but she likes them.  She just isn't a..well...girly girl. But then, neither am I.

She will say just about Anything at home, to us. She won't say much to anyone else. My mother in law is a loving, caring, helpful woman who will sometimes run with an idea without knowing all her facts. She can be a little overbearing. She sometimes butts in a little too much when it comes to the girls personal business so they have started being a little more discreet. ( Like having Middlest in tears one time because she overheard a group of teenagers talking about a boy with the same name as Mids boyfriend cheating on his girlfriend, even though she had no idea who these kids were or whether it could be the same boy.) She sometimes can't take a hint and her feelings get hurt if you are too blunt with her.

A predicament.

"When you were gone and she was driving me to Jujitsu she said, Aunt B said that she was worried about me because I remind her of herself at this age.  She always felt like Aunt A was prettier, like I feel about Mid, so she is right about that but she is afraid I have low self esteem. So now Nan thinks I'm a lesbian too.  At first I thought she was starting on the Marines again but then I realized she thinks I'm a lesbian and I don't know if Aunt B thinks that too but Nan kept bringing up how Aunt B felt when she was growing up and talking like she thought I was having the same issues. She didn't say it out right but I could tell that's what she was getting at. "

 Ok. Littlest reminds me of Aunt B too. She always has.  Similar strengths and similar insecurities. Aunt B is one of the coolest young women I have ever met. She has traveled the world, she is a fire fighter,  she is super smart and in incredible shape. She is not a girly girl either but she is feminine as well. She has accomplished an amazing amount for someone who is just turning 30. I have known her since she was 5 and I adore her. I see her perseverance in everything she attempts and pushing herself to be her best mirrored in Littlest a great deal. I consider her an excellent role model for my daughters.
 Both she and her life partner are beautiful and accomplished women.

With Lit I see the same kind of persistence and dedication to what she is doing. She looks a lot like Aunt B and since she has been seriously working out, seeing her start to cut in with muscle tone just enhances it.  Lit keeps Marine Corp. recruitment posters on her wall as inspiration to get up early in the morning to swim and lift weights. Um, I'm sure the fact that they are all handsome young men has nothing to do with it ; ) But, when Nan was driving her to her Jiujitsu Dojo, which is All Guys except for Lit, she must have escaped noticing the mention of someone affectionately referred to as Monkey Ears and the fact that Lit's Gi (martial arts uniform) recently starting smelling a whole lot like Liz Claiborne Curve. But then again, Lit probably doesn't mention  it because she doesn't want it to become another topic for Nan to butt in on.

Since Littlest is a private person, she doesn't share her personal thoughts with extended family much. I don't know if they realize that she does talk to me a lot and the fact is, though they love her, they haven't spent a great deal of time with her and really don't know her that well. I had noticed she was avoiding spending time with her Grandmother.  She actually was sad about it because she loves her and usually enjoys her company but she was driving her crazy.

 So Seamonkey and I were a little floored (and trying not to laugh because we already know the answer) and we said,
" Well, let's start with this, just to make sure."

"Are you? Are you sure? It's ok if you are. You can tell us : )"

To which Lit, who will say Anything to Us, looked at us with pure disdain and flatly answered,

"I Enjoy Shirtless Men."

To which The SeaMonkey left the room and I snorted... just a little.

I suggested she just tell her Grandmother flat out that she was barking up the wrong tree and to please climb down it but she felt uncomfortable and didn't know what to say. Plus,

"She won't listen. She will just keep talking about it every time I'm with her. Just like with the Marines, she won't quit and I don't want to seem like I'm being rude to her. She's my Grandmother. "

A dilemma.

So I pondered for awhile and I Got IT!

"You have two years before you do anything. Tell Nan that you haven't decided for sure whether you want to go in the Marines after all but you are keeping the Marine Corp recruiting posters up on your wall because you think the guys are really hot."

Two birds with one stone.

Problem Solved.


So obviously that isn't a real solution.  Though it's all we have so far and may actually be the easiest solution. This requires careful stepping. How do you manage sticky situations within extended family?

For awhile we have had songs that Big and Mid feel speak for them. We couldn't find one that defines how Lit feels because, as she explained it, "I am just too Awesome for anyone to manage it".

But then she found it.

© 2011 All Rights Reserved


  1. My best friend is a gay black woman. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have a lot of gay friends. I think kids can grow up to be whatever they want, or whatever is right for them. Sexuality is just one aspect of who they are. I have a lovely neighbor lady who is a firefighter and is married and has two gorgeous daughters. She is not girly, but apparently her husband thinks she's girly enough!

    Nobody should be sticking labels on your girl. She needs to be who she is without stupid input. Bless her heart.

  2. Ugh. Extended family feelings get sticky. Your Littlest is AMAZING! - probably because she has an amazing mom & seamonkey.

  3. Sometimes you just have to tell them to take care of their own business, if they want to maintain a relationship with the person they are ragging on. (preferably, BEFORE they ruin the relationship)

  4. Linda: I think that's why it bothers her so much. She isn't gay and her grandmother would still love her if she was, she loves and supports her own daughter. It's the assuming that bothers her.

    Silver Strands: This is a weird one. The MIL mentioned to me also that Aunt B was concerned. I don't know if she was hinting and decided I didn't get it and didn't know what was going on or what!

    Ms.A: That's just it. She won't. She doesn't want to upset her Grandmother because she does love her. Instead she will silently listen and then complain to me!

  5. I understand. My son was the same way, until one day... it became too much and he told her to mind her own business. I recently did pretty much the same thing. It's a shame, when you love someone, you can't just ask them to stop doing that, before you end up doing it in anger. (or you do like I do and avoid any and all opportunities for them to express their advice or opinion)

  6. Ms.A: I know exactly what you mean. We have become adept at avoidance. But she is tricky. She just showed up randomly for no reason a little while ago and volunteered to pick Lit up from class tonght. I'm not kidding.

  7. I often tell my children that it does not matter to me what they grow up to be, as long as they grow up strong. Looks like yours are on their way too!

  8. "i enjoy shirtless men." (ha! double snort)
    hmmmm....maybe i need to get myself a marines poster...

    you know, your MIL sounds a lot like my MIL. mine, at least, just doesn't always have a proper filter on when she speaks. i have gotten to the point where, generally, i will tell her what i think as nicely as possible or i just nod and smile and say "thanks, i'll keep that in mind" when i think she is being especially crazy. ;-) i don't always think there are fabulous solutions when it comes to these things, but i actually think the poster retort is perfect in this case...

  9. Kimberly: This one is! No doubt about it. Thanks so much for coming by!

    Elissa: And she never misses an opportunity to point it out! At least with us. We do the nod and smile a lot but we feel bad because I think she is starting to notice that the girls are avoiding her.

  10. She just be honest with her grandmother, sometimes as folks get older they lose their ability to be sensitive.

  11. OH, I could go on forever about the ridic things my MIL has said, asked, assumed.

    I think she's always been this way: which, to me is, RUDE.

  12. Mrs. Tuna: That's what I think too but she does have a tendency to keep going with something even if you told her different : )

    Alexandra: Mine has always been "Super Helpful" which is a blessing and a frustration at the same time. Lately, yes, her "Appropriate Behavior" monitor seems to be slipping!

  13. Oy, the family politics! Littlest sounds fantastic.

  14. From one non-girly-girl to another, I love the way you handled Grandma. Very clever!


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