Some people may not know, but my relationship with extended family is quite strained. If you ever look at pictures from special events in o...

I want a grandmother

Some people may not know, but my relationship with extended family is quite strained. If you ever look at pictures from special events in our lives, my family is scarce. Thankfully, I have inherited a wonderful assortment of family from my sweet husband. It amazes me how accepting and loving they all are. They are the kind of people that make me realize just how much it takes to raise a child into a good and caring person. Each one of them had a hand in creating my husband's personality, intelligence, awareness, empathy, humor, sarcasm, geekiness, times of cynicism and paranoia, you know, the good and the flaws!

That's the good part, but the ugly part is that I really only have my mother and my younger brother that I can even call up out of the blue to talk to. I've never known my biological dad and my step dad doesn't speak to me after the mess with custody of Freddy. Not that this is a huge loss, we won't discuss all that he's done, but he is the only dad I've known and he's lost to me now. My sister and I talk occasionally, but it will never be the same. I am the mother of her child now, the child that she lost. I wouldn't want to be my buddy either. My step dad's parents were my grandparents my whole life. My parents married when I was 3, and there was never any separation for me when it came to "biological" anything. They are some messed up folks with crazy delusions and insane religious beliefs that have no Biblical basis, it's like hillbilly religion or something that just breeds hate, contempt, & imprisonment rather than freedom, love, and forgiveness. I love them though, but they don't talk to me either because they are my dad's parents. They don't want to believe who he is or what he's done to our family, and anyone who bursts that bubble isn't allowed in anymore. I don't blame them really. I wouldn't want to believe my child was capable of hurting people the way my dad has. Even if I did still have them in my life, my grandmother was not your typical one. She smokes like a chimney, is constantly negative, makes ridiculous comments about my weight/hair, etc., hates to cook, uses paper plates at Thanksgiving, and is only honest about any emotions when she's had a glass of champagne. Then it just isn't pretty, followed by the guilt over the hillbilly religiosity hell bound drinker she surely is.

My mom's parents, also a little crazy. My maternal grandmother is manic depressive (the more modern term for this is Bipolar). She has battled with this her whole life, and also believing in the hillbilly gospel, has been unwilling to accept real medical help with this. Unfortunately, her behavior combined with my grandfather's incredible temper and desire to either calm his wife or get her out of bed, resulted in a lot of harsh punishment for my mom and her siblings. My mom has told me stories that I don't want to believe. It sounds like some horrible Lifetime movie, but it's real and it happened. My mom loves her parents , but when she eloped and married my dad/step dad whatever you want to call him, she had to make a choice because in their strange voodoo magic ways, they knew he was evil. Mom made the wrong one, and spent almost 20 years of her life with no family either. They tried to get me out of my parents' home & reveal my dad for what he was, but their intentions were selfish and their means were pretty much illegal. Oh I could write a book about being on the run in Alabama and the FBI looking for us!! TMI, I know!

Things are starting to get patched up with them, but there's this gaping hole where I don't know them. I've got cousins and aunts and uncles that still blame a 6 year old girl for just wanting to go home. I can't create a relationship there with former kidnappers including an unmedicated Bipolar woman and her abusive husband! I love them, but what if it all came loose one day and I exposed my sweet babies to that? I couldn't forgive myself. Maybe I'm wrong about this, it's not like they would be any more sane if we had been speaking for the past 20 years.

So, thank goodness that I have a mother that loves me. Thank God that my sister is safe and that my brother is good hearted and still tells me that I'm the "best sissy in the world." Thank you Jesus that Jason is my family, my children are my family, and for all the beautiful people Jason shares with me. Thank you, my Lord and savior, for being my dad. One of the most beautiful moments in my life was when I recognized God as my heavenly father. I have all my life wished for a dad to be proud of me, to be good, kind, and love me just as I am, who would never hurt me. Realizing that God IS exactly that, when I had no earthly representation of such a relationship, was completely amazing and humbling.

I'm thankful and grateful, but still I am selfish and ask for more. I want a grandmother, one who will teach me to sew and how to make my biscuits fluffy. I want someone to teach me to knit and show me pictures of when I was a tiny baby in her arms, someone who smells sweet and wears an apron while she bakes. I want a grandmother who brags on me to all her lady friends and carries pictures of me in her purse. I want to have a recipe box filled with chicken scratch that I can barely read and have to call up the author to find out exactly how to make that dish, because really she just makes it from memory now. I want someone to drink coffee with out of her wedding china that has beautiful wrinkles around her mouth and eyes to tell stories about how much she's laughed and smiled in her life. I want someone that is grateful for me and sees herself in me in a lovely way, and who is sad that she may not be around to see just the woman I become. So, if ever you feel I'm trying a little too hard, or spending a bit too much time on that birthday banner :), or keeping way too much stuff, taking way too many pictures, and worrying too much, I have discovered why. I may not have this "grandmother," but I am damn sure going to BE that grandmother someday! I get a chance to start over and build a family on God's love and with His protection. I value that opportunity more than anything, and here it is, I'm smack dab in the middle of it somehow and totally unprepared. This is a wonderful season, and although I'm sad that there aren't many people that make up "me" to share it with, I'm busy making a new "me" anyway.

Thanks for hanging in there on this one! Much love to all of my friends who truly are my family and help to make that new me better than the old.


Can said...

I could write a novel telling you that I understand...but you know I do. I'm glad that we were both blessed with such great hubbies, babies, and in-laws. OH..and great friends have become my surrogate family :o)

Pediddlepie said...

Amen to great friends, and we got to pick them! ;)

ainmemphis said...

I love you Manda!

Anonymous said...

Soooo, your picture of who you plan to become as a grandmother totally shatters our plans of moving in together one day when we're old and wrinkly and widowed and sitting on the front porch throwing rocks at the punks that walk by our house or traipse through our garden....... Hmm, maybe I will have to find another old crotchety woman, or maybe.......just maybe there's still hope for you yet :).

Pediddlepie said...

Oh I thought we were moving to Florida and hiring a 30 something "poolboy" that never wears a shirt that whistles at us while we show off our elderly goods in flowy robes with little satin covered high heeled house slippers with fuzzies on them and eat cheesecake. Hmm, we really should get on the same page with our plans!