The unseen forces that shape who we become

I had a lovely weekend, it was relaxing and productive in many ways.  I went out for sushi on friday night, found a great coffee shop on saturday morning and then went furniture and appliance shopping for the new house with one of my best girlfriends.  I wasn’t feeling very good after that and spent the rest of the evening relaxing with a movie and a cozy fire.


Today I got the pleasure of seeing Nana and Granddad.  It was a wonderful visit.  We had lunch and spent time catching up.  As I was leaving, my Mom called.  She was at the hospital across the street with my other grandma and a few family members.  My grandma had had a stroke, and she wanted me to come and say my good-byes.

Is it wrong of me that truthfully, I was only going for my step dad?  There are very few people in the world that I could honestly say I view as my “hero”, but he is most definitely one of them.

I have always admired his quiet strength.  How, even when he was angry with me, or someone else, he would take the time he needed to work through it in his head, and then come back and address things calmly.  As a teenager, when I’d fight with my mom, it was him who would come and hear my side.  He’d always listen.  He might not always agree with me or my approach, but he’d let me say my piece.  And then he’d share my mom’s side, and then he’d share his own perspective, and somehow, we’d always find a resolution.  He was always the one person who could quiet the stormy seas and make everyone feel calm again.

I adore that he’s silly and playful.  He’d wake me up in the mornings singing “We all live in yellow submarine” as loud as he could.  He’d make up silly songs about whatever we were doing or tell fart jokes, or quote monty python.

Today, I saw his strength crack.  I’ve only seen that maybe twice in my life.  And I remember the last time, I felt the same as I do now.  There’s something not quite right in the world when this man, whom I adore and look to for calm and quiet strength, cracks.  He was doing just fine until I got there and gave him a hug.  And he quickly gathered himself back up and drew it all back in.  He was staying strong for everyone in the room.

Seeing my grandmother today was more difficult than I’d anticipated it would be.  I haven’t attended gatherings at her house for a year or two.  She looked so different.  So thin and frail.  It broke my heart and made me feel scared to ever be put in her shoes.

Because this is my blog, I’m going to share some things… to the few family members who read my blog – please – know that I love my grandmother very much.  I’m not trying to tarnish anything about her… but this is my one place to be honest.

I have always had mixed feelings about my grandmother.  She’s my step grandmother, and when I was young, she made a more than a few comments that made me feel like I would never truly be a part of the family.  When I got older, I went through a phase where I wanted her to like me and connect with me, I even got a job in the banking world, an industry that she spent her career in.  She was a lovely cook and I’d often try and learn her recipes or talk kitchen tricks with her.

When my daughter was a baby, my grandmother watched her for a few days each week.  She loved and adored Alayna.  She would sit and rock her all day.  She wouldn’t even put her down and use the restroom while she was under her care.  I worked two jobs at the time to try and make ends meet, and I was so lucky to have grandma there to watch my daughter.  We didn’t always agree on things and occasionally she would make comments that hurt my feelings.  She’s of a different generation.

I loved family gatherings at her house, and hated them all at the same time.  🙂  I love that family, but grandma, as she got older, would extend visits as long as she could with the entire family.  She’d make the younger children wait until past their bedtime to open presents and the evenings just became harder and harder.  Grandma didn’t see the problem with playing favorites among the children and grandchildren, and I hated having to explain to my children why they were often left out.  So we slowly stopped going to the family gatherings.

Families are complex systems with a multitude of millions of parts.  I never really thought of how much those little moments and pieces and parts affected who I am today.

Grandma was always trying to serve and host others.  Even at the expense of herself.  She was giving and loving and loyal to her family.  Her children are truly some of the most kind and genuine people.  All of which have giant hearts and infectious laughs.  They wouldn’t be who they are without her.  She was a divorced single mom.  I don’t ever remember a man being in her life and instead, did it on her own.

I think I had a moment today when it really sank in that as much as I love her, grandma was wrong about one thing.  Blood doesn’t make you family.  I’m not related to her by blood, but I love her.  I love her family.  My family.  I’m honored and blessed to have them in my life.  I’m sad that change has hit our family today.  A big change. But I know that we’ll weather this change.  I know, because I’m just like them.  I too, channel moments when I embody strength, loyalty, kindness, and a selflessness for others.

I think overall, I handled the day well enough.  I came home and asked one of the roommates for a hug.  I just wanted a friend at that moment.  It had been a long drive home and I already wasn’t looking forward to coming home.  It didn’t really go over very well.  I got a very half-hearted hug and then what felt like being completely shut out.  It hurt.  It made me feel like there was no friendship there.  It helped me learn, yet another lesson.  Be careful who you go to for comfort or support because if you’re not, sometimes, you’ll just get burned.

Goodnight Neverland, much love to you.

lipstick kiss

One thought on “The unseen forces that shape who we become

  1. Yes, she was human. Just like all of us. And she is already missed. She was no better and no worse than most. And set in her ways. And in those ways, you learned. What you want to be like her and what you would rather leave .
    But remember her gift to you, your Dad.
    Love you!
    The Crazy Aunt Gini

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