it isn’t worth disappointing your grandmother

(Nany’s passport photo circa 1960)

Back in October, I penned a post that began with a look at our seemingly
“Royal” obsession.

The post touched on our coveting and yearning for a sense of royalty…
At the beginning of the post, I mused over the US obsession with all things Royal, as I
wondered where that may have come from.

A few weeks later I wrote a post about the Queen and her quintessential purse…

So many folks wonder as to why a Queen would constantly be seen carrying a handbag
hanging from her arm.
The post also touched on the boorish behavior displayed by some of the guests she
entertained during a dinner for the NATO leaders

So should we think it odd that the Royal family is not even “ours” and yet they are
practically all over every news outlet we have?

We are Royal watchers even if we don’t mean to be as their faces, names,
and stories, especially in recent months, have been all we see.

They are there when we flip on our televisions.
They are there when we are standing at the check-out line at the grocery store staring out at
us from every tabloid stacked on the shelves.
They are there when we click on our computers.

I wonder, are our across the pond cousins equally as intrigued with their Royals as we are?

Elizabeth was crowned Queen on June 2, 1953.
My parents were married on June 16, 1953.

With those two events each taking place within days of one another, my parents
actually received several Royal pieces of china commemorating the coronation
as wedding presents.
Items I still have today.

As long as I’ve been alive, the Queen has always been…a constant during my 60 years of life.
Just as it should be as she is the longest-reigning monarch surpassing
her great grandmother Victoria and her namesake predecessor, Elizabeth I.

Sean Gallup Getty Images

When I was a 21-year-old college kid, I had spent my college summers up in
North Carolina as a camp counselor at a Christian girl’s summer camp.

Our home, when I was growing up, as many of you well know if you have read any
of my posts, was quite dysfunctional.

It was my saving grace being able to transition from my 9 months away at school
to my 3 month summers up in North Carolina.
Meaning, I was home only sparingly.

The last summer that I was working at camp prior to my senior year in college,
when the two sessions had each ended, I came home for a few weeks before I was to head
back to school.
I had several older friends who actually lived year-round on the grounds of the camp
or near the camp and I was already missing them terribly.
Despite being home for only a few days, I was homesick for my home-away-from-home.

If, following graduation, I could have made a full-time job working at camp year-round,
I would have done it.
At that time in my life, it was about the only place I actually felt God’s presence
deep in my being.

So one mid-August night when I was back home,
I’d come in from an evening out with friends finding my brother still up watching TV.
If you’ve ever read any of my posts about my brother, you know he was the lynchpin
of our family’s dysfunction having been diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic
several years later.

Our relationship was fraught, erratic and tenuous.
Yet that particular night we were actually having a civil conversation.
I remember lamenting aloud about how much I missed being back at camp.
I debated about just getting in my car and driving the 4 hours back for the
My brother then offered that he’d go with me to see it if I’d like.


A road trip with my 16-year-old brother allowing me to share with him
something that I cherished…could this be a breakthrough for us???

Ode to the mind of a wistful 21-year-old.
Forget consequences, let’s just throw caution to the proverbial wind, shall we…

He had to work at the grocery store, where he’d gotten a part-time summer job,
the following afternoon so I calculated that we could drive up, getting there
in the wee hours of the morning, hang out with my friends having breakfast,
show him the camp and in turn, get him back in time for work.

But wait…. what about our parents?

They were fast asleep.
They were not ones to embrace such impulsive acts.
Nor was I ever the type of kid to do something so daring.
And in hindsight, something so selfish.

Yet throwing caution to the wind, I scribbled a quick note, leaving it on
the kitchen table.
The note promised we’d be back in time for my brother to be at work…
And with that, in the middle of the night, we headed out the door.

The drive and time we spent at camp were quick but truly nice.
And nice was a very rare experience that he and I ever shared.

I found that I actually enjoyed the civil time we shared on the ride.
I explained how I wished it was light enough for him to see the mountains
cresting over the horizon.
It was as if we had bonded over the thrill of the clandestine.

When we got back home, with time to spare for my brother to go to work,
our parents were so incensed, they did not speak to me.
Not a word.

So with no one speaking that afternoon, I opted to go see my grandmother, Nany.
Nany and I were very close.
She had afforded me a great deal all my growing up and I adored her
and our times spent together.

When I walked into her condo, she was sitting in her usual spot in her den
watching the television.
When I entered the room, she turned her back on me.


Never had my grandmother ever shown anything other than generosity, kindness, and love.
Anger and disappointment were each relegated only to parents and not grandparents right?!

All she said was “you should have seen how sad they were when they came
by here after church.”

Under the weight of a very heavy silence, I showed myself out the door.

Yet as it is with life, both time and my actually growing up worked to heal all gaping wounds.
Soon forgotten were both my youthful stupidity and folly as life pressed us all forward.

However, I have never forgotten my grandmother turning her back to me.
That image has remained in the recesses of my memories.

I was crestfallen back then and it still pains me to this day.

It hurts knowing that I hurt her like that.
That I was capable of hurting her so much.
Funny how hurting her was more troubling than how much I had hurt my parents.

I had been thoughtless and selfish—yet are we not so during our youth
as we often learn the hard way by surviving our many mistakes?

We can only pray that we learn and survive those youthful errors and
often self-destructive ways, hoping to go forward, carrying with us the gift of wisdom
rather than the burden of selfishness and recklessness.

I was but 21—Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is a 35-year-old man.
And yet it appears as if Harry is acting more like a selfish child
than that of a grown man. Putting his wants before responsibility.
He continues to hurt his “Granny,” as she is affectionately known by
her grandchildren, with his on-going selfish and reckless actions.

It has been reported that The Queen had asked Harry to wait before making a
public statement regarding his desire for life’s role reversal,
but he ignored her request– going forward anyway.

I cannot presume to understand the complexities of their tangled
relationships but if I could offer one word to Harry, it would be the word of caution.
I would caution Harry to never put his wants above his relationship with his grandmother–
Of which, if we have ever read much about their lives, is one of
closeness and caring.

One day, sooner than later, she will no longer be here as a tangible and physical
part of his life.
I know all too well that he does not want to look back, with her no longer in his life,
with either sorrow or regret for how his actions may have pained her.

And so perhaps there is a lesson here for all of us…

The lesson being that we need to stop before we act.
Stopping to think while considering the lives of those closet to us…
Thinking about them before we boldly opt to march triumphantly forth—
So bold and headstrong that we go marching gallantly forward carrying those
wants and desires of our hearts on silver platters without ever considerating the
thoughts and feelings of those who are dear to us.
Those who are hurt the most by our misguided and self-centered actions.

Selfishness can be a heavy burden.

Be very careful, then, how you live—-
not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is

Ephesians 5:15-17

19 comments on “it isn’t worth disappointing your grandmother

  1. SharaC says:

    I knew you’d have some beautiful way of weaving this all together! What a lovely story of your family, I certainly appreciate both the bitter and the sweet, sometimes we have a tendency to remember things as only one way.
    And as for our dastardly duo… I think of all the decades of history and people the Queen has been a witness to and a part of… and this little blip on the radar pops up and wants to “collaborate” with her… as if the Queen needs her assistance. It just rolls my socks. They are truly better than any reality show, that’s for sure. Did you see her driving her Range Rover along today and totally giving the press the side-eye? Classic. That’s an empowered woman right there, no fanfare, just faithful to duty and family.

    • I can only think Harry reminds her terribly of her Uncle David— she painfully understands the sacrifices one makes for the responsibility of leadership— her father was her teacher there— her children however suffered from the lack of a mother and that suffering seems to be a continuum — as the saga continues 🇬🇧

    • And you know— the Queen adores horses- I think she believes that they are the only living creatures who are genuine around her

  2. Lynda Clayton says:

    The life of a royal is not simple and not as glamourous as it seems. I think that there is more to the story than we will ever know. Megan’s racial heritage is a factor as is Harry’s fear due to the loss of his mother. Queen Elizabeth is an amazing woman who has made incredible sacrifices to uphold the traditions of the royal family. We who are ordinary people are blessed to be ordinary and out of the spotlight.
    Thanks for this post Julie – especially for your own story of grandmotherly love. It’s a difficult memory to have your dear Nany turn her back on you but, as is the case in much of life, you have a dear memory of time spent with your brother.

    • Lynda Clayton says:

      I forgot to mention how much you look like your Nany!!

    • Thank you Lynda—when I look back, my one little antic paled in grave comparison to some of the antics of my cousins…but perhaps for her, I was to be better then they were… who knows.
      Fortunately we did quickly move past that little faux pas and yes, I do actucally cherish the memory of a single “normal” moment for my brother and I.

      As for poor Harry.
      I have always felt that Diana’s death left a gaping hole in is young heart—a hole that he never let heal…not that such a loss heals, but as in William’s case, he seems to have stepped up to the role of responsibility much better.
      He wants his privacy, to be left alone, yet with all the perks.
      I wish the Queen would by-pass Charles and just hand the reigns over to William as he seems to be the only one with any sort of sense out of that bunch.

      Nany was a hoot really.
      She was a tiny woman 5’2″ at best and quite buxom so she appeared abit more round than she really was.
      She was the epitome of prim and proper—we weren’t allowed to wear jeans when we visited her.
      But she could be devlish herself and loved her sherry 🙂
      I am probably the only grandchild who has worked to maintain her legacy as the cousins have leaned to their mother’s mother ratter than their father’s…

      I do have deep respect for The Queen—she has had a life of burden—probably never really wanted it but carried forth none the less!
      We rarely see such qualities in today’s leaders

  3. […] via it isn’t worth disappointing your grandmother — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]

  4. says:

    Great personal story. Thanks for sharing. I can’t imagine why your parents were so incensed, you were 21 after all and I would think they’d be happy you were spending time with your brother. My folks would’ve paid for the gas if I took my sister anywhere.

    I love following the royals not only for the formality of their lives, but that they are just like us in many ways. Long live the queen,

    • I did rationalize that whole “I’m 21 and I’m grown” notion. Plus it wasn’t like we were going bar hopping or anything.
      And I even had called my godparents and got their take on going and they simply said “drive safe”
      But I certainly caught hell —
      but in the grand scheme of my growing up–if that was the worst of it, they were fortunate. 🙂
      And I do see it as one of the highlights of the relationship I had with my brother. 🙂

  5. oneta hayes says:

    I find it amusing that they are choosing the way of the commoner. Oh, yeah! Books, movies, ads, Hollywood, as well as the Home at Windsor the continuing “royal” stipends. Some life of a Commoner! They choose everything to gain and nothing to lose. I dare say they can go back if they choose to do so. Oh, and the rational of victim-hood, racial discrimination, are you kidding me. Well, he also is a half orphan. Poor kids!

    • Harry, A. should never have married that girl.
      She is an American, bi-racial actress, who has lived the high life of Hollywood and doesn’t get the notion of serving the people through both thick and thin—Americans don’t get that whole British realm business of servitude whether it’s convenient or not.
      B. He has a great deal of hurt from losing his mother–of which it appears he has not dealt with or had comes to terms over. Such a loss is life long but what you do with it is what is the key of importance—look at William
      C. Harry’s behavior growing up has been one spoiled moment after another…I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when he had to see the Queen following that Vegas stunt of his…drunk, high and naked.
      D. As you say, they are both playing the victim card and when you are spoiled and have the world by the tail, that’s a hard card to pull off convincingly—
      Poor Queen!

  6. Salvageable says:

    This is a lovely blend of observations and memories.
    I cannot remember if I’ve mentioned this to anyone on WordPress yet… but one morning last month i awoke with a perfect answer to the royal problem. Scotland should leave the United Kingdom (with border terms like those proposed for Ireland) so it can remain in the European Union. Scotland should then take Charles as its king, with Harry heir to the Scottish throne, leaving William heir to the English throne. J.

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Thanks for sharing. Selfishness can be a big burden though it doesn’t seem that way at the time

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