As a child of about five, I talked to my grandmother daily. We discussed the food we ate for breakfast and my favorite cartoons. We lived in the same three-story apartment building. My dad’s younger sister and her family lived on the top floor. We lived in the middle, and Grandma lived in the lower level. One day I made a startling discovery that would change my relationship with Grandma and my dad forever.
During one of our chats, I noticed that Grandma spoke often about my dad’s childhood. Curiously I asked, “How do you know so much stuff about Daddy?”
“I’m his mother,” she replied proudly.
“You are WHAT!!!” I shouted in disbelief. This couldn’t be true! Why hadn’t someone told me that this woman, who was my best friend, whose name happened to be Grandma, was a family member! An important one! I knew how much power she had, because I had a mother too!
It occurred to me that this woman could put Daddy on punishment and boss him around! That’s the kind of power my mother had, so I was certain that all moms had the same authority. After I sorted out things in my mind, I dashed home to tell my father that I knew his secret.
“I know your secret,” I said confidently.
“What secret?” he snarled never looking up from reading the newspaper.
“I know who your mother is!” I said in a sassy tone.
“So what!” he replied dismissively.
No he didn’t just disrespect me after I told him about my secret weapon! He’d live to regret that for sure!
Off I stomped to Grandma’s apartment to tell her how mean Daddy had been to me. I thought that she would punish him for that. She promised that she would spank him for me. From that point on, my dad had to walk a tightrope around me. One unkind word, one threat of a spanking, or simply denying me a request and off I ran to report him to his mother! He didn’t seem the least bit interested in my threats.
As a result of my frequent news to Grandma, Daddy nicknamed me the tattler. I reported that insult to Grandma too. She promised to punish him for everything I shared with her. I never witnessed any of these spanking or reprimands, but I knew she handled things, because she was the person who told me never to break promises.