Home > grandmothers, my mom > Am I unreasonable?

Am I unreasonable?

My mother had a detached retina some years ago. Her eyesight, never great, became dramatically worse after that. She cannot read signs and cannot see at all well in the dark. Though she admits these things freely, she hasn’t given up her license because she’s in Connecticut and frankly, you can’t live in Connecticut suburbs without a license.

When I was down to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday, I (at her request) left The Child with her for an afternoon.  It allowed The Husband and I to go out and visit with a friend we haven’t seen in two years. So, as we were getting ready to go out, she asked me to leave our car with the car seat, “In case I want to take her somewhere.”

I was… hesitant. “I really don’t want you driving with her Mom.”

“I don’t see why not!?”

“Because you can’t see.”

“I see fine in daylight,” she retorted. “And as long as I know where I’m going, it’s fine. I won’t go anywhere with her that I don’t know.”

I sort of agreed to leave the car, then asked my dad to do any driving that needs to be done. He agreed though I found out later that he took off for the afternoon, leaving my mom alone.

Later, Mom brought it up again. “I could take her places if you weren’t so reluctant to let me drive with her.”

“Mom,” I reiterated. “You can’t see! You shouldn’t be driving anyway.”

“Well, I have to get to work don’t I?”

“Yes, but you don’t have to drive with my kid!”

“I don’t understand what you’re so concerned about,” she snapped. Then changed the subject.

Am I being unreasonable? This is a woman who would not pass an eyesight test to get a license if she didn’t already have one. This is a woman who often has to pause for several moments to let her eyes adjust if there’s a sudden change in ambient levels. (Like, say, coming out from under a tunnel or  if there’s a cloud in front of the sun.) A woman who has admitted that she can’t drive if it’s dim or dark. A woman who, yes, knows the roads in the town where she lives, but also lives ina  twon with a lot fo road construction that frequently changes things.

And, finally, a woman who has managed to fall badly three times in the past two months and who admits to having a very dodgy memory.

“I would never hurt my granddaughter,” she protests.

I know getting in the car is always a risk. But I don’t see any reason to compound that risk with letting my dotty half-blind mother do the driving. Am I unreasonable or is she?

Categories: grandmothers, my mom
  1. November 28, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    You are NOT being unreasonable in the least. She would never intentionally hurt her granddaughter, but someone else could veer into her lane on a small road and her ability to see them coming could be impaired, etc. Bad weather could strike. You name it. Stand firm. Maybe tell her that you wouldn’t want either of you to deal with the guilt if, g-d forbit, something DID happen while she was driving, and that’s reason enough to avoid the situation.

  2. November 28, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    No way would I let her drive my kid around.

  3. November 28, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    You are right. No question. But it’s easier for someone on the outside to say so.

    Having to deal with a mother or father who is no longer able to (grand)parent the way that he or she could before, and can no longer be counted on to keep children safe, would be, I imagine, a very difficult thing for everyone involved.

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