Thursday, February 14, 2008

Not sure where else to document this...

(I hesitated to actually post this, so its been sitting as a draft for several days, but ah, what the heck, maybe your bored and want to read a long ramble about my family)....
So for now I'll stick it here. Tonight I babysat my nephews and my grandma came along to help and enjoy her great-grand kids a little more. It was about 45 drive home and along the way she just started talking and reminiscing away. I think it started because she was saying how my sister and I were good moms and that our mom was good with us as well. She went on with stories of my mom when she was young- 16 years old and starting to date my rebellious and disrespectful to authority (at that time) dad. I learned some things and missing pieces to some stories that I hadn't known, mostly about my dad. I find it all intriguing and interesting and funny now. Especially because my dad is SOOO different now. My mom left home and dropped out of high school when she was 17 to move in with my dad. They were basically hippies. According to grandma they lived in communal housing near Aquinas College. My dad didn't like my mom maintaining a relationship with my grandma, she thought she was too controlling over her I guess. Grandma used to pick her up and go places and do things with her though and they stayed in close contact. My dad was a draft-evader which I pretty much knew. In fact both my parents got to know each other on a bus to Washington DC to protest the Vietnam War. What I didn't know was that my dads "job" at Forest View hospital (which he talks about frequently) was really community service after being arrested for draft evasion. (Heehee, I LOVE my dad, did I mention he is majorly different now. It just cracks me up to think of him as a free spirited, make love/not war hippie)!!

My parent were married at Woodbrook Cathedral by a pastor Stutts. I learned that my Grandfather (on my dad's side) was so against the fact that they were not being married in a Catholic church that he would not step foot in the building. His wife, my dad's mom was either already deceased at that time or in a coma from a brain aneurysm. My grandma I guess convinced him to come to the church at least, but he would not come in. My grandma worked hard to keep communication and relationships open between everybody. I guess when my dad's mom was dying and he was having a hard time because his relationship with her had been strained at best, she convinced him to go to her bedside at the hospital and speak his mind and say the things he wanted to say to her. I guess he later got mad at my grandma for convincing him his mom could hear him, when he learned his mother was considered brain dead. My dad never talks about his mom by the way. I know VERY little about her other than her name and that she died early from a brain aneurysm of some kind.

Three years after my parent were married, my mom became pregnant with me. By that time they were a little bit more settled (still hippies of course though). And my grandma recounted how great it was because all the family was there and involved in my parents lives when I was born. She recounted how they would take me to my great-grand parents house to visit them and then after my great grandma passed away and my great grand father was in a nursing home...they would take me to visit him and I was one of the only things or people that would make him smile. He was a very staunch, mean old man. I was so young but I do have vivid memories and images of going to visit him. Down to little details like a chinese checkers set in the visitors/waiting room and a leaf collage decoration I made to hang on his window.

We touched a bit about my parents divorce. She talked a bit about her own struggles with her marriage to my alcoholic grandpa at a time that was just changing and giving women more liberties and rights. However my grandpa, being 13 years older than her, was literally from another generation and had nothing to do with the changing times for women.

I would have loved to keep talking and listening to more, as she is a wealth of family history and knowledge, but by this time we'd already been parked in front of her apartment for a while and both my kids were asleep in back, awaiting their beds.

However, as much as I love and cherish these conversations, for some reason it makes me more scared and aware that my grandma's time here is limited. Since my own mother has been gone the past 2.5 years, I've become so much closer to her as we've both needed each other. KJ has also become totally infactuated with and in love with his Nana as well. And I feel guilty that sometimes I lay awake at night fearing the day will come too soon that KJ and E will loose their tender relationship with Nana.

1 comment:

Teachermom said...

Wow. That is a LOT to find out! Pretty neat to get all that family history. I know what you mean about the fear of losing her. My children have three sets of great-grandparents right now, and I really try hard to make sure we get to visit them, etc.

It's good that you're documenting this. You should video tape her telling more of her stories, then you will have documentation of her telling it herself.