Forget Babysitting. Elderly-Sitting it is.

I think my grandparents have been married for almost 50 years (not there yet). When I think about it, they’re completely different from each other. My grandfather is a really calm, easy-going person, while my grandmother is really anxious and could probably worry enough for 20 people. When my grandmother starts to worry, suddenly all my anxieties disappear and all I want is for her to just relax. Perhaps that is why my grandfather is so relaxed.

See how relaxed my grandfather is, while my grandmother guards her purse?

During my trip, my grandparents took turns taking me sightseeing. When I went with my grandfather, he would rush though the seeing part, and slow down during the eating parts. We would sit at a restaurant for maybe two hours at a time. Well past the eating, just sitting around sipping tea, and he would just spin stories. His stories are always interesting, lots of history in everything. The only complaint about being with my grandfather is that you have to make sure that he gets enough to eat and ask him if he needs to use the restroom every now and again.

With my grandmother it’s a little different. She’s always worrying. It’s like she’s a leech and won’t let go. She wouldn’t let me out of her sight. I just wanted to cross the street and look at one shop, and she wouldn’t let me because it was unsafe. How old does she think I am?! Also, every time we were going to cross the street or in an elevator or something like that, she would push me when we needed to move. At least, with her she would stay with the seeing parts more, but every ten minutes or so, we would have to sit down, because she just can’t walk so much.

Now, it’s a very logical question to ask, why didn’t I just go sightseeing on my own? The Guangzhou transportation system makes a lot of sense, and it’s really easy to see lots of things. Also, as a younger person, I’d walk a lot faster than my grandparents, so I’d be able to see a lot of things. Well, the answer to that question, lies with my grandmother, and her completely irrational, overprotective nature.

It may seem like they’re the ones taking care of me, but it more felt like I was taking care of them. Always having to make sure they were well rested. Making sure I don’t walk too fast, so they could catch up. Checking if they needed to use the restroom or a snack or a drink. It’s way more exhausting than babysitting! It’s probably because since they’re older, you need to respect them, so it’s like dancing on a fine line. You have to make sure that they think they’re taking care of you, instead of the other way around.

It still amazes me how these two could be so different and happily married so long. My grandfather said it’s because my grandmother is always burning up from worry, but he is calm and cool, so he’s able to cool her down. Hee hee, perhaps that’s the truth.

Part 3/11 in China Adventures 2010

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