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The Canary In The Family? #writebravely #MondayMusings

I’m participating in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge through October and will be following the prompts suggested. I’ve also decided to focus on the theme of Anonymously Me – stories that people have shared with me and that we could all learn lessons from.  Today’s story, The Canary In The Family, is told by  a grandmother in her 70s who lives in the US. I have tried my best to write this story based on our chats. And yes, I do have her permission to share this.

If you have a story you’d like to share anonymously on Everyday Gyaan, do contact me. You can be assured that I will keep your name and details confidential.


The Canary In The Family?

My granddaughter is sixteen now and I’m so happy to see how she’s growing up. Sweet sixteen. That’s what she is – sweet. To think that I couldn’t see that for a very long time in between.

I remember that she the sweetest of babies, but I was biased, she being my first grandchild. Bright as a button, she excelled at her studies and managed to pack a lot of other things too – music, creative writing and sports. We were all so proud of her.

Behavioural changes

That was until she turned twelve and life changed for us all. Amanda’s behaviour seemed to change overnight.

Suddenly, a girl who didn’t seem to take one wrong step, was acting out. Her Mom (my daughter) started getting called to school at regular intervals because Amanda was fighting with other students. One morning, my daughter landed at my place with Amanda and her things. She told me she had had enough of the girl, who was now refusing to go to school. Apparently, at home too, she was grossly disobedient with her parents and always fighting with her siblings. My daughter thought that as a retired teacher, I’d be able to discipline her.

At my wit’s end

I tried. I shared my ‘rules’. I set her school work. I cooked meals, she used to like. But my efforts seemed hopeless. Amanda refused to cooperate. She kept talking back to me. She would not wake up until I hauled her out of bed and then would sit around listlessly.

I tried a softer approach – taking her to the movies, giving her treats, attempting to joke with her. She refused to engage beyond a point.

When one day I told her I was at the point of giving up, she told me she didn’t blame me. Since her parents had given up on her, why would I be otherwise. That cut deeply.

I called her parents over and we attempted to talk together to get to the bottom of this behaviour.  I found that my daughter kept blaming Amanda for the unhappiness in her home. Her father sat quietly, hardly contributing to the conversation. Amanda said not a word, until they left. Before turning in for the night, she made a cryptic remark about wishing she had never said anything to her mother. When I asked her to explain what she meant, she told me it didn’t matter.
The Canary In The Family

An answer and a resolution of sorts

To cut a long story short, with probing and eventual counselling, Amanda shared how she had come upon romantic emails and text messages  her father was exchanging with another woman. She told her mother about it and all hell broke loose. After many arguments between in her parents, they decided to act as if nothing had happened and presented a united front. Amanda was made to feel that she was the cause of the acrimony between them. Remember how miners carried a canary down the coal mines to warn them of poisonous gases – the bird’s death served as an early warning of danger? Amanda was the canary in the family. Her behaviour was an indicator of the poor relationship her parents had.

Needless to say, that I had a huge showdown with my daughter and her husband. Amanda chose not to go back to her home. I wish it wasn’t so, but at least she’s almost back to being herself. She continues to live with me and bring me much joy.

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  1. Keerthi Vydyula Keerthi Vydyula October 23, 2017

    First of all, thanks to you corinne for sharing such heart warming and heart-felt stories through your anonymous posts. I guess it is for good that Amanda choose to stay with her grandma, under her loving care which i guess amanda missed a lot at her home…One cannot imagine how scared a child might feel with such disturbances in family!

  2. Minakshi Bajpai Minakshi Bajpai October 23, 2017

    Its sad seeing children facing the adult world so soon. Thanks God for sending grand ma. Glad she is doing well now.

  3. Danisha Nathyal Danisha Nathyal October 22, 2017

    i was hoping for a happy ending for amanda and i am glad she is doing well now. every individuals are different and their takes on life is different.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this story.I can almost feel what she felt.A confusion about right wrong and pretending.So glad the story sharer her grandmother could help her.

  6. Sunita Saldhana Sunita Saldhana October 18, 2017

    Sometimes it is the grown ups who are the least mature in a relationship and the poor kids have to suffer.

  7. Sheethal Susan Jacob Sheethal Susan Jacob October 18, 2017

    It’s sad that kids have to hear the blame for what happens in the family. So glad that she was able to share it with someone and her Grandma were there to support her.

  8. alpanadeo alpanadeo October 18, 2017

    It’s sad how kids keep struggling with themselves because of parents complexities.
    Happy to read that Grandma came as an answer to their answer but not everyone is fortunate to have such support in their life.

  9. Musings, Rants & Scribbles Musings, Rants & Scribbles October 17, 2017

    So sad for children to see too soon what happens in the adult world. What a sensitive young woman she was to see how her mother was being hurt. I hope she’s happy.

  10. the bespectacled mother the bespectacled mother October 17, 2017

    In the beginning, I thought this was a case of teenage trouble but no it wasn’t just that. I realise relationships get strained when people resort to blaming others and continue to live like that. In the context of this post, it is surprising that the blaming of the girl went on for 4 years. Thank God for the grandma to step in to correct what had gone wrong.

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