Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To Grandmother's House We Go

Me with my Nona at her birthday party about a year
Yesterday I spent most of the day visiting my grandparents!
I started off my life with five grandparents... my mom's parents, my dad's parents, and my dad's stepmom. But my dad's father and stepmom died when I was a kid, and my dad's mom died when I was about 21, so now my maternal grandparents are the only ones left! They are the grandparents I've always known the best anyways because they helped to raise me... my brother and I used to stay at their house a whole lot. I call them Nona and Bopop... Nona is the Italian word for grandmother, and Bopop is just a silly name I made up for him when I was just learning to talk. My brother and all six of my cousins (I'm the oldest on that side of the family) call her Nona, but only my brother and two of my cousins call him Bopop all the time. Another two call him Bopop or Grandpa, and the youngest two just call him Grandpa... it all depends on what their parents teach them to call him, I guess. I'm not sure what Squeak will call them when he gets big enough to talk... I hope Nona and Bopop, like we do. 

I go to see them every so often, usually when I have time off of work. We have a pretty good routine. Generally my Nona and I (and sometimes Bopop if he's not playing poker or something with his friends) will go out to lunch, and then go to K-Mart (where she always insists on buying me something!!!), and then come home and watch TV and/or play cards. Sometimes if I can stay late enough I stay for dinner too, which is always hella good because my Nona is a good cook and even if she's just making something simple like spaghetti she makes it all elaborate and there are rolls in a basket and salad and applesauce for side dishes and dessert too. 

(This time I only stayed for lunch because I had to get home and let Small Dog and Big Dog out so they don't do their bathroom tasks on the floor just to spite me for being gone too long!)

I always loved my Nona when I was a child... she was a second mother to me really. But it is strange that, as I get to know her as an adult, I love her even more! It is so cool to actually just sit and talk with them. I guess throughout my whole childhood and teenage years, I never actually talked with them that much, because usually when I was at their house there were ninety billion other people around. Even now at family gatherings it is the same way... we are Italian and most of them talk pretty loud and interrupt each other and everything... so for me it has always been easy to get lost in the shuffle. When I was little there was a space in the living room, between the picture window and the living room chairs, and I would go back there and block myself in with the ottoman and read in peace. 

So now it is a completely different experience to just be able to talk with them, and only them. And they really listen to me. I mean, when I'm there, you'd think I'm the most fascinating person they've ever met, the way they listen and pay attention! They listen and they actually think about and process what I say!

It is also weird to me that I have so much in common with my Nona. I mostly take after my dad's side of the family... that side is most likely where my Aspergers and other mental health issues come from genetically, although I believe ADHD runs on both sides of the family. But every time I talk to my Nona I find things I have in common with her. Just weird little things. Like she gets anxious being alone in the house too, and she used to have excema, even on her eyelids the way I do, and her eyes run when she eats (I know, so gross... its allergies though.) She tells me stories about my parents and aunt and uncles... she told me, for instance, that even back when my mom was a little, little kid she was a perfectionist, and had to have her room super clean and neat at all times. She'd have her crayons all organized and never peeled them or broke them, and they'd all be fresh like new, and she'd have everything arranged in her little play kitchen just perfectly. When her cousins, a wild bunch of ten, came over and played, my mom would get upset because they messed up her stuff! 

My Nona also remembers weird little things about me, that my parents don't seem to remember. For instance she says that when I was a toddler I never smiled or laughed, and my aunt and uncle would go crazy trying to get me to laugh, and I'd just stare curiously at them. And she remembers that I was a really slow eater and would be sitting at the table eating for an hour after everyone else got up.

Some things that I swear happened, but my mom says I just imagined... I find out from my Nona that they did happen! I always thought I remembered that, when I was a little kid, my aunt and uncle would lay garbage bags down on the grass and spray them with a hose, and we'd use that as a "Slip and Slide" because we didn't have a real one until much later. But my mom always said that we actually had some other version of a Slip and Slide, maybe a Crocodile Mile. So yesterday when we were in K-Mart we passed through the toy section, and I saw a Slip and Slide, I asked Nona, "Did we have that at your house when I was little?"

And she replied, "I don't think we had a real one. I think we just put garbage bags down on the grass."


Today for my Happiness Challenge, I am happy that I got to hang out with my grandparents yesterday. 

Also I am happy that I had fun playing with the hose like a geek all by myself in the backyard today! I was using it to water the plants, but it was about a billion degrees out, so I started spraying it in the air and letting it rain down on me. I did this for far too long. It was fun! My dogs, however, didn't appreciate being included in the surprise shower! 


  1. Grandparents are special people. I wish mine were still around. I miss them still eight years after their deaths. Thanks for sharing your day and happiness challenge and yay for being right about the garbage bags lol!

  2. Yes, grandparents are awesome! I feel really lucky that I still have my grandparents while I'm an adult, and that Squeak will get to have great-grandparents! That is something a lot of people don't get to have. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. What a blessing that you have such a wonderful relationship with your grandma. I really do envy that!


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