Call Grandma

Well, no one threw me down the Dieseth trash chute after my last opinion piece, so I’m back again with more self-help that’s mostly for me, but might also be helpful for you. I’ll admit, I’m busy right now. Between the research papers and exams, preparing for concerts and keeping track of the numerous sportsball games, you might have a lot going on. I don’t blame you for being busy.

In times like these, I often feel like some things get put on the backburners of the stovetop, or worse, into one of those sickening dormitory microwaves. We forget—I forget, at least—to keep up with the relationships in our lives. They are the first to go; when the grind of homework sets in I just don’t have time to talk, send an email, a snap, what have you. So, the snow falls on that relationship. The cold sets in.

Anyone who isn’t in my immediate circle of people I see in-person tends to be the first relationships to get frosted over. Maybe for you, it’s beneficial for some of these relationships to get stuck in the cold. That’s fine. But, perhaps, there’s at least one that shouldn’t be, that doesn’t have to be.

For me, that’s probably my grandma. When two people live more than nine hours away from each other, it’s harder to reach out. It’s not that I don’t love her, but that doesn’t change the fact that I only talk to her maybe four times a year, and only once a year in-person. So, Thanksgiving, the driving slog that it is, provides me with the one opportunity to see my grandmother. Seeing each other face to face melts the ice away and scrapes away the snow from the windshield. The same thing happens with my cousins too. By the end of the holiday, I think “I should keep better contact with them.”

But it is only ever a passing thought, and the frost creeps back in.

Sometimes, the cold creeps into the bones. The winter wind forces itself past our fleshy façades of skin and muscle and into the marrow. Even next to the fire, we stay cold. The ice burrows its way in, makes a home, and holds tight.

“Do we really have nothing in common anymore?” This was a comment that a friend of mine said to me a long time ago. I had moved away, and we hadn’t seen each other in five years. We used to have endless things to talk about. But in that convenience store aisle, we had nothing to talk about.

The winter had set in. We promised to write, but it didn’t happen. We thought we could keep our friendship, but distance between two middle schoolers ended anything we once had. It’s probably my fault; juggling an old life and a new one made me choose, and I can’t blame him for asking that question. Our relationship had frozen stiff and solid to the point where two formally inseparable friends had nothing to say.

What I’m saying is Thanksgiving and the holiday season might provide us with the perfect opportunity to melt off the ice. Yes, finals are real, omnipresent, and right around the corner. But don’t let the frost creep too far in, at least if you want that relationship alive. These are people we care about, and we probably care for a good reason.

Even if you aren’t seeing them in-person, I hope that you can sit down, call them, email them, write them a letter, or use whatever mode of communication that could get to that person. Melt the ice. Don’t let it solidify. Don’t let the frost creep into the framework of that friendship, that relationship. It’s hard to break the ice once it sets in.

Thanks for listening. I’m going to go email my grandma now.