Wendy's comment yesterday about me having someone to love me when I was a child got me thinking about my relationship with my Grandmother as it was then, not as how I choose to remember it now. It's uncomfortable to write some of what I'm going to write but I want to be honest, here, with myself and with you.
I told the exact truth in my last post and in everything I have written about my feelings for my Grandmother. I loved her then. I love her now. I love her memory unceasingly. Laura Hingsburger was a dear, dear, woman. I see her exceptionality now, though, different than I did then. Now I see her as a woman with a big heart who wouldn't be told by others which of her grandchildren had worth and which did not. She was a tough, strong, woman of independent spirit. I admire her - now.
Not so much.
You see, while I loved Grandma, I thought there was something wrong with her. I got a type of approval from her that was withheld by other adults. I don't want to suggest that my childhood was a desert of affection because that wouldn't be true. There were various moments and various people across time who let me know that I was cared about. But Grandma's affection included a kind of voluntary and all encompassing 'knowing' that was a rare thing. One day I should write about the strange lady that came to my parents party - it's a story I've never told and forgot about until just now.
I thought that Grandma was weird - good weird, but weird.
I thought that Grandma was strange - good strange, but strange.
I thought that Grandma was somehow broken.
And what I feared, more than anything else, was that Grandma was wrong. That those who saw me as lazy, or as stupid, or as ugly, or as unworthy - were right. I wondered if they laughed at Grandma behind her back, none would have the courage to do it to her face. I worried that she would be mocked because she didn't mock me.
And, maybe, I didn't respect her love enough.
Maybe, I saw her love, given, as less valuable that the love that had been withheld.
I don't like admitting that - but its true.
Now, of course, I see Grandma as someone not broken - but instead as someone entirely whole. I still see her as weird and strange because, of course, entirely whole people are, aren't they.
I'm good with weird ... and I've got to be ... because I aim to be whole.