T wo years, four months, and one week ago, my parents sat us kids down and told us that my father’s mother, Bubby Schwartz, was coming to live with us. It turned out that she could no longer care for herself, didn’t want to go to a nursing home, and of all the aunts and uncles, my parents were the only ones who didn’t have a new baby and had enough room.

“Enough room?” I squealed. “Where’s she going to sleep?”

And I knew before my parents even said anything: Bubby Schwartz was going to get my bedroom — the room on the main floor closest to my parent’s bedroom — and I’d be moving to the basement guestroom.

I was fuming. I did not want the guestroom. There were spiders. I’d have to sleep on the couch any time we had overnight guests. And I loved my room.

“Bubby can’t manage stairs,” my parents explained, “and we need to be nearby if she needs something in the middle of the night. If you want, maybe you can share your room with her. There are two beds in it.”

As if!

I know I was supposed to be all happy; what a mitzvah, right? But honestly, I felt like I was being displaced and was very resentful.

Plus (and this is a horrible admission, so brace yourself), I didn’t really like Bubby Schwartz. She wasn’t like the warm, giving bubbies you read about in kids’ picture books. She was negative, critical (and I mean, constantly), and sometimes downright mean. I’d only see her a couple times a year because we lived far away but that was more than enough for me. And now she was coming to live with us?!

I couldn’t exactly explain how I felt; my parents were devoted and patient with her, taking her never-ending criticism without complaint, and while it annoyed me (why couldn’t they just stand up for themselves?!), I couldn’t help but respect and admire them for it. It probably took a lot of tongue biting. I couldn’t complain to my friends, either; I started to once, and my friend Chaviva said to me, “Do you know how lucky you are to have grandparents?!” in a really snippy voice and I couldn’t be bothered explaining that we weren’t close like she’d been to her grandparents before they passed away.

Anyhow. So, later that week, my father drove out to get her. I remember how nervous I was when we were waiting for her to arrive. My mother urged us to make a nice welcome sign for the door, which I did, reluctantly, while thinking and worrying. Whenever we went to her house, she’d tell us to take off our shoes, keep quiet, not to make a mess, not to touch the walls. Was our house going to be like her house, where I constantly felt uncomfortable, just waiting to leave the whole time?

Well, Bubby soon took up residence in my room and actually thanked me for giving me her room, which I really appreciated. I hadn’t expected her to thank me. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Teen, Issue 38)