I am used to being ignored.
You’d think being the only child, only grandchild and only niece would have meant I had a house full of grown-ups, hanging on my every word.
At least not when I grew up.
Granted, when I was smaller, I may have said things they found adorable.
I was asked cute questions, like what was my favorite animal, who did I think was the best college football team, and what did I want to be when I grew up.
My answers were anything with fur, four legs and a tail; UGA; and, since I was about 3, I wanted to write ‘stories.’ Not much has changed.
But once I hit a certain age, one where I may have actually gotten a lick of sense in my head – something Granny said I was sorely lacking for most of my life – no one seemed to think I knew anything.
Somehow, I was still the baby of the family, but I was just bigger.
And my family thought I only knew about things that were pretty much along the lines of favorite animals, football teams, and television shows.
To prove this point, my uncle had an outrageous medical bill once he could not get resolved. He didn’t know why it was so high, and Granny, even with all of her tactics, could not get to the bottom of it either.
“Why don’t you let me look at it?” I offered.
You would have thought I had suggested I was going to split an atom on my grandmother’s kitchen table.
My uncle looked at my dumbfounded. “What in the world would you know about a hospital bill, baby?” he asked, shaking his head and walking off.
It was my turn to look dumbfounded. At the time, I was in college and working for two surgeons. And doing of all things – processing insurance.
“Granny, I think I can help with this,” I said.
Granny shook her head. “You’re just the baby. You don’t know nothing about this kind of stuff.”
“Actually, I do. I deal with this all day at work. Please let me look at it.”
She shook her head. “Ain’t no need in you messing with it. You may get it all jumbled up anyway.”
I rolled my eyes. They wouldn’t let me look at something I handled every day, but two days later when my uncle received a mailer from the Publisher’s Clearing House, he gave that to me and told me to figure out what magazines he needed to order to win.
“None of them,” I said. “I hate to tell you this, but it is a scam.”
“Well, I want Sports Illustrated and TV Guide, so see if their prices are good.”
I could price check magazine orders but not even see an insurance claim?
That evening, Granny knocked on my door.
“Don’t you breathe a word of this, but see what you can do.” She handed me the paperwork.
Were they really, finally, going to trust me with grown up stuff?
It took me a couple of days of making phone calls, but I managed to get the bill resolved.
When my uncle received the new revised statement, he was shocked. “The baby did this?” he asked.
“She did,” Granny said.
You would have thought that would have ingrained some level of trust in me, but no, I was still the family baby and any attempt to offer advice or suggestions continued to be ignored.
Mama sometimes ask my opinion, but then disregards it.
I have tried to tell them about things that would make life easier and they completely dismiss it.
But, let two people get the boot on my uncle’s favorite show and he knows who to ask.
“He still thinks all I know about is TV shows and frivolous things, doesn’t he?” I asked Mama.
“He just knows you can find out for him.”
“He knows I Google.”
“If I had a Google, he’d still want me to ask you,” Mama said.
You would think they would have a bit more faith in me, but in their eyes, I am still the baby.
At least to a certain degree.
When Cole was born, he became the baby of the family.
“No one listens to me,” Cole lamented one day. “I was trying to explain something to Nennie, but she didn’t believe me.”
I completely understood.
It looked like the baby torch was being passed off to very capable hands.