I’m in Mexico. I flew over two days ago with my two boys so my grandmother who has stage IV cancer and who had never met hem could see them before her imminent death. I didn’t write about it before because I don’t know who reads my blog and had our visit been anounced it wouldn’t have been welcome. That’s how this family rolls.
But as sad as it all is, I knew that seeing my kids was something she would’ve liked so here we came.
I am so happy we did. Crossing the ocean with my boys was great and it has been an experience I would do over 100 times. They have been cooperative and patient and sweeties. We’ve managed to sleep and jet lag has been more of an issue for me than for them. As far as an unplanned and unexpected holiday goes this one’s been great.
I will not rest until I manage to put these feelings into words. I didn’t know that growing up would be this evident, and this painful. I’m just letting things hit me, hit me hard. I thought I had it all sorted out, and then boom, all it takes is a quiet Sunday with some time to look at the old photographs I just got hold of to make me stagger.
My grandmother was my mother and she was a horrible mother: this is what I chose to believe for 20 years, and now all of a sudden all I see is that this grandmother loves this girl very much.
I shut myself out to her because it was so easy an explanation to everything, that she needn’t have raised me if she hated me so much, and that it was all her fault. And then suddenly just like that, a door in my brain opened and I imagine how unbelievably hard it must have been for her to have to do it, how terrifying.
Let’s be clear, she was really awful. But I now think she couldn’t have done any better. Yes she was pretty bad, she used to say hurtful things that are etched in me forever, and now I suspect that she was just as hurt as me.
Stupid me, how many times did I hate myself for having adored her. I shouldn’t have doubted one second that adoring her was the right thing to do, the only thing. Even if she wasn’t perfect. If she couldn’t spare me from being where I was, in the middle of the battle between the daughter she got and the daughter she would have liked, if she couldn’t keep me in the children’s room, perhaps she didn’t know how. And maybe she tried, maybe I was just too aware.
How many times have I counted all the things that she took away from me. She took away my mother, my father, my brother. Then I couldn’t be near her one more day and I blamed her. I cried and I reproached her for hating me. I just wanted her to be my friend. I refused to apologize, I said I was the one who ought to forgive. But today I don’t feel like griping anymore.
I love shortbread cookies, especially those with pretty shapes and lovely smooth icing. But I had never made any, until the rain made me do it.
(this is the recipe that worked better for me, yes I tried several: 2 cups flour, 2 sticks butter, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 confectioner’s sugar, vanilla)
I learned that in order for shortbread cookies to retain their shape, they need to be veeery cold before you stick them in the oven, otherwise you get these blobs instead of crispy shapes (they were still delicious though):
Someone had a lot of fun eating raw dough and making a horrible mess. It was worth it:
I really had a bumpy start. My parents were young and unstable. Life took its turns. I grew up in the weirdness. I have a brother who I don’t have.
But suddenly it all strikes me as wonderful: all the things I didn’t have were a gift for my own children. Life was making sure that I never forget to give them just that.
Like to remind them that they are loved even if they’re not perfect. To make sure they know they can talk about their feelings. To teach them to love each other, to be friends, to count on each other, reminding me that brotherly love needs to be fostered. To teach them that they’re lucky yet it’s okay to cry and be sad sometimes. To let them know that Maths is not difficult and they can be astronauts if they want to.
I have like 11 terabytes (does that even exist? anyway… they should invent words for us people always hyperbole-ing) of photos, and very very few actual prints of them. Also, I live far from many people I love. Enter Blurb.com.
We just received 13 copies of our 2009 family album.
It’s great. The quality is amazing. I ordered premium paper with matte finish and it is like a store bought book, but better. For us, my mother and my in-laws we got hardcovers. They are nice and durable, albeit a bit expensive. That’s why everyone else is getting a softcover. stingy me.
I am sooo in love with these books and the booksmart software they provide to build your own books and albums: imagine printing, choosing, hand-cropping and cutting, then sticking the 400 photos that are in this album, times 13. Yeah. I know.