Grandma, What Big Eyes You Have!

When my grandmother changed the tile in her kitchen, I was sad for weeks.

I like home renovation, just not at my grandmother's house. I've lived with her, all together, about four or five years of my life, and even when I wasn't living there, I've been hanging out there. I've seen her change wallpaper, wall fixtures and shower doors. She's rearranged and reupholstered, put down carpet, repainted walls and changed knobs. Each time, no matter how small the change, I'd have to "get used to it"...or, sometimes (mostly when I was younger) I'd have a full on freak out.

This is only at my grandmother's. My parents painted their white-as-long-as-I've-known-it dining room a bright purple and I didn't blink. They gutted and redid the kitchen, and I was happy because it looked like something Martha would be proud of. It is specifically my grandmother's house that wish would be some sort of vacuum from the outside world; unchanging forever.

Freak out of freak outs: she got a face lift. MY GRANDMOTHER GOT A FACELIFT. And not like, she had her eyes done, so she still looks like herself, but her eyes are less "saggy". I mean, she had her eyes done, yeah, but that's not all. We're talking full on, "oh my god is that you?!" face-lift. And she looks totally different.

I went to see her when she was recovering, and she was unrecognizable. Her voice was the same, although it was a little raspy and her hands were the same (old and veiny, manicure flawless); they moved in the same gesturing way when she talked, but her face was so swollen that she didn't register as "Grandma" when I saw her.

I saw her today. There's still some swelling and lots of bruising, but she looks mostly, I think, the way she's going to look. I freaked out.

"Holy shit!" said the inner-Amber. "She looks different! She can't look different. SHE CAN'T LOOK DIFFERENT! SHE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO CHANGE! Oh god. I'm going to be sick. I have to leave. She's saying something to me. What is she saying? I'm staring at her. I should listen. I can't hear her. This is too fucking weird. I'm going to hurl. SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE EXACTLY THE SAME ALL OF THE TIME!"

"Shhh!" another voice chimed in. "She's still Grandma. See, the veiny hands are still there with the perfect maroon nails. See how she's gesturing? Just like Grandma. And she certainly sounds like Grandma. Let's find something familiar in her face. The nose. See, it's the same. Look at the nose." Thus I calmed myself.

I didn't say anything to her brand-new face, because I didn't want to hurt her feelings. She was already very hesitant about getting it done before she went, and afterwards, she was worried about how it would look, if she should have spent the money, if it was foolish and vain and what the people at church would say about it.

"People my age," she told me, "don't usually do this sort of thing."

I told her she looked great, and she does, from a cosmetic point of view. She's got a tight, smooth complexion (in addition to the lift, he lazered her face to take care of any wrinkles left) and the part of her neck under her chin and above her throat isn't saggy and wrinkled anymore like it was. And I'm all for self-improvement. I don't think feeling better about your appearance is limited to the young. I just don't think I like this new and improved (?) version of her face. I'll see when she's healed, but for now, I'm still against major renovations to Grandma's house... or Grandma.