Now, let me preface this by saying that I’d heard the whispers of “grown folks’ business” betwixt my grandmother and her coffee, toast and jam crew. My parents were young and free-early 1970s free. My mother-a progressive womanist-sans title at the time -prided herself on being a woman who’d taken on a man, not one taken and stripped of her person and name.
It all seemed simple enough then, y’know when life was simple. I had two sets of grandparents, and as the years progressed and my mother partnered with my stepfather, some aunts and uncles too. Really, who can’t use twice as much guilt-laden grandparental and familial love?! In truth, I know they loved and love me infinitely, but what I also know to be true is that they feared the worst. They wondered, worried anxiously about the aftermath of all of this free-rolling love.
Well, here we are some 37 years later and I’m trying to explain to my children where these aunts and uncles are coming from. Awkwardly describing-whilst trying to decipher-how it is that social networking sites have been more instrumental in the cohesion of our “family” than its founders were. Plugging dates and tracing steps, wondering just how often we’d each crossed paths in one place or another, oblivious of one another. Navigating the tenderness of words, pre-meditatively placing careted words like “other” between “my” and “brother”. Breathes slowly and deeply.
The dynamic is incredibly complex, because on the one hand I’m morbidly curious and fascinated by the similarities in features, stature, orthodonture, cadence, tonal inflections and more. Yet, it’s apparent each of us, in our own ways are protective- guarded even- of our foundations, of the families we grew up in, the pieces of our Selves we were able to salvage, safeguard and restore as the stones rolled.