So we are on day 5 of the write 31 days challenge and I have written exactly one post…the introduction. I went into the month knowing ahead of time that I would be out of town at least once (this weekend) and since I like a good three day long party I knew I would not stop to post. I am not sorry I dropped everything, flew into a hurricane, travelled with one toddler, one pregnant person, one person who doesn’t like to fly and my husband who, well, is his own bag of issues, to go to one amazing wedding. Hence, it’s Monday and I am trying to decide on where to start first…
If you’ve visited the intro you will know that I have chosen to write about where I come from-or don’t come from because that often seems to fit the bill a bit better. I try to not drool on and on about being a Mim (gramma for those more traditional grannies out there) but it is the absolute best thing to be on earth. I use to think it was chocolate but now I know for a fact it is grand children. Chocolate AND grand children together is truly a level of heaven that borders on ecstasy-and I find that it gets me in trouble with the parents-to which I say oh, well and paybacks are a…payback (to put it nicely).
Having a grand (and soon to be 3 of them!) has allowed a lot of deeply buried ‘gunk’ to resurface and for someone who can never be accused of living an unexamined life-in fact the opposite is true-this caused a great deal of introspective future gazing. I know that doesn’t sound right but for lack of a better way to put it-I feel like I finally have something to grasp onto that represents life.
OK, yeah, I have children. Three talented, incredibly smart and strong individuals who have given my life such deep purpose and tons and tons of gray hair. Especially the boys and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. In the middle of doing all that raising up of these great now adults I spent a lot of energy burying my past using depth charges strong enough to keep it well out of view and influence. It didn’t always work because the soundtrack that plays in my head still keeps me from living free from-what I will call ick for now-ick.
This ick oozed all over most of what I tried to do and still interferes with it’s sticky, negative grip. It also clouded my vision. So much so that I couldn’t see the beauty that was in front of me in the form of my children. I was so convinced that I was incapable of doing anything right, good, good enough that anything cute and good came from my husbands genes and I was responsible for every bad thing, misbehavior, sour look, temper tantrum, broken toy, toddler bite, teenaged fury…you get the picture. Yes, I know, therapy may have been in order but that could have been construed as just another failure in my makeup. So I buried. And fought. Fought hard to deny my upbringing and all the trappings of what made me me so that I could try to become that perfect parent. Y’all if you have followed me any length of time you know that pefectionism is a fight I will fight till the day I die. I consider myself in recovery and relapse from time to time but raising my kids I was still deep in the middle of the delusion.
Then the grand came along and I began to see things. Like that face. And those eyes!! And then someone said they could see me in her. Talk about stopping me in my tracks! I can see traces of me here and there in my kids-but to hear that about my grand opened something that I had long ago locked away.
I was abandoned. At five days old I wasn’t cute enough, cared about enough, wanted enough to be held on to so I was left in the hospital where I was born (cue the old soundtrack). In foster care for 18 months I was adopted-which I will get into later. My grand at 18 months was the most incredible creature-joyful, adorable, funny, curious and looked oddly like some of the few images I have from when I was that age. What struck me is that at 18 months my foster family let me go. 18 short months with my grand-not even full time-and I couldn’t imagine seeing her go with someone else! I began to feel another kind of abandonment, almost a betrayal and then the old soundtrack kicked in-I must not have been lovable. Or cute. Or wanted. But wait-looking at this little face in front of me I could see something that sort of messed with my mind a little. If she looks anything like me-or acts anything like me could it be that I wasn’t so bad after all? A strange kind of sympathy began to evolve for my past self. Especially when I thought of how it may have felt at that age to walk out of a door you had known your entire short existence and have it closed forever behind you. To be shut out of what you know into the arms of strangers with a brown bag containing one yellow night gown. Then I had another strange thought…is it possible that I could love my grand daughter so thoroughly that I could find a way to loving my small self back into being? To allow that I was lovable at all?
I know this sounds weird-bear with me-I have hidden away from myself for decades. Hidden myself away from the people around me for all those decades too. You see, when your past is a blank, when you come from no where into a family estranged from itself and dysfunctional but functional-more on that box of crazy later-you become practiced at denying even the existence of a past. The upside of this is that all you have is your future and when you are unexpectedly faced with the tiniest face of that future the dusty cloud of your past starts to shake out some unexpected stuff….
So for the next month-give or take 5 days-I’ll be shaking the dust off some of that stuff. I think I have come to a place where I want to leave something-legacy is too heavy of a word-but maybe it is just words I want to leave. Something to be touched and remembered so that there is more than just an echo to pass on to the sweet faces of my future…
Hmmm, hitting publish is harder than I thought because this sounds so self indulgent but I promised I would do it so here goes-if you made it this far I am filled with gratitude and hope that somewhere along the way you will be entertained, moved or just not bored for a few minutes….
And, by the way, I have a short attention span so I will probably skip around but one way or the other it will all make sense in the end…