I never felt a connection to my grandparents house. There was never a corner that held secrets I wanted to know. Yes, the house was impressive, but it was of no interest to me. Nana (now age 90) was adopted early on but reunited with her biological mother in her adult years. Her biological mother’s home was very intriguing. That’s where I first came in contact with a massive doll collection in cases that lined the wall. That’s the home where I was served meals and dessert on my great-great-grandmother’s china. Unforgettable.
I wanted to know everything about Nana’s mother’s house and the things in it. I wanted to know the story behind the jewelry box, behind my great-grandmother’s physical scars on her back. I wanted to walk through her pantry and see all the stuff she had. I watched her make bread and pies. I was intrigued by the radio that was built in the wall in the restroom. The restroom was amazing as it glowed a soft amber.
My great-grandmother gave us permission to explore without restriction. I was able to walk the land and see fruit trees, flowers, the lemon trees and more. She had apple trees, a pear tree and cherry trees, too. There wasn’t a dull moment in that house full of history.
I won’t lie, my great-grandmother was a wicked woman in her youth. My Nana got her meanness ‘naturally’ because she wasn’t raised by her biological mother. To hear my Nana tell it, she had a picture perfect childhood.
My great-grandmother changed quite a bit in her older age. She changed enough that some of the cousins and I could forgive what she’d done to the 4 children she and her husband kept. By the time my great-grandmother died at age 95, I hadn’t touched all the history I wanted, but I had a good dose of it, a good understanding of who she worked hard to become. I wonder if she forgave herself for what she did to her daughter? She didn’t want her so she took the infant child, held her out and dropped her on the floor. My Nana’s hip was broken and she walks with a limp to this day. Can she be forgiven for forcing another daughter to wear a veil over her face for the first 9 years of he life because she said she was too ugly to be seen? As I said, my great-grandmother had a lot to make up for, as far as I know, she tried. Did her children forgive her? No.
My great-grandmother’s home wasn’t peaceful because the damage she did to her children still clung to the walls.
Here I am at 45 and I feel the need to belong somewhere and to something bigger than myself. I need roots. I need stones with my history engraved on them to validate my years of existence. The stones may be a mix of good and bad, horrific and criminal but they are my stones and they are where I’ve come from. I needed to know where my identity started. I now have the opportunity to take my roots and history and build a solid future.
In mid life there are questions I’ve asked myself. Where do I want to belong? How do I want to present myself? What do I want for myself at this stage in life, and how can I work to get it?
If I asked about accomplishments it could easily go in a negative direction, but if I ask what I want, I can answer in a positive tone. I will not measure my life by any one else. I will not look to my accomplishments and compare them to anyone, but I will ask more questions. What qualities do I want at this age? What social atmosphere do I desire? What peers fill my needs most? Where am I when I’m most comfortable in my mind? These questions give me a good idea of where I am now and let me know if I’m on the track that will lead to the future I want.
I will never, ever cover my gray hair! They are my victory flags.
My road is filled with pot holes, sink holes, storms and war. My body is at war with itself. My mind is at times very tortured and burdened, but that is not my whole existence. It’s part of my life but not all. I still have memories to make.