One of my favorite conversations I ever had with my Granny was the one where I would ask her who looked like whom in our family.
We had it several times over the years.
I would ask her about each one of my siblings–my one sister looked like my Papa’s family, the other sister like Granny’s family, my brother looked a lot like my Mama’s family with a little of Daddy’s mixed in. I would always save myself for last. I loved her words that never changed and savored them, loving the way they fell on my ears. And my heart.
“You? You’re a perfect mix of your Mama and your Daddy. I can see both of them very clearly in you.”
Yes ma’am. I’ll take it.
I was laughing today thinking about what this conversation would be like today. It’s been at least eighteen years since we last talked about whom I took after.
“Granny, where do I get these age spots from?” (her and Daddy, bless ’em)
“Granny, what about this proclivity to getting mouth sores right before a cold?” (my Mama)
“Granny, what about this absent-mindedness and brain fog that’s starting to set in lately?” (she’d likely plead the fifth on that one)
and so on…..
I was laughing over what I’d ask her about now, when the thought came to my mind of another trait that I’ve only garnered in the past few years.
And I pondered on whom I got that from.
It turns out, interestingly enough, this one turned the family tree upside down.
I’ve become stronger.
Wait. For that -er to work I would have had to be strong to begin with.
There’s no comparison.
I’ve become STRONG.
Like I’ve never been before.
It didn’t take my Granny sitting in her recliner across from me in the new house in town to tell me where I got that from.
My daughter. My Aub.
I get my strength from the one who first made me Mama. The one who is now in that fascinating land somewhere between childhood and adulthood, where Disney movies and J-Lo movies (oh me) intertwine. The Jonas Brothers and Ed Sheeran. Comfy sweats and jerseys with leggings and boots. Makeup and ponytails. Fine dining and Nu-Way.
A wonderful place to be, and I look at her and I’m amazed. I’m sorry, I’m pretty sure it was just last month that she was sitting on the bed trying to hold her head up at just six weeks–poor little pointy headed baby.
It’s rounded out now. And so has her world. She started off strong. Knowing her own mind. From the get go we knew she didn’t like turtlenecks but she loved butter. She didn’t like to sleep, but she loved to sweep. She loved pigs and she was not keen on sour candy.
She grew up speaking her mind (no, Granny, I got no idea where that came from *sigh*), and I kept telling myself, “One day this will pay off. One day I’ll be glad she’s so strong-spirited and speaks her mind and stands up for who and what she believes in.”
It became my mantra. One day…..
And I was right.
I became strong because of her. Because she has been strong through so much hurt and disappointment and loss, I look at her, and I know, I can be too. Some might say I had to become strong for her, because of her, and that might have been the start, but really, now, it’s like she’s showing me how to be strong. How to stand up and speak my mind. How to tell the world, this is not okay.
Because she’s doing all of these things already.
I’m very proud of her. And a little in awe of her too.
And lest you all think I’m under the impression that she’s perfect, have no fear. I know she’s not. And just to prove it, here is a shot of her bedroom. At Home. Where she does not “live” 80% of the time. (I have no idea what her dorm room looks like–there’s some things you just have to let go and are better off not knowing.)
Hey. What happened there? It seems the Force is really strong with this one.
Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that to her. (And no, we’re not discussing where she gets that *ahem* “lack of organization” from.)
Tonight I’m thankful for family members who look like one or the other and for those who don’t. Those who are born to be one of us and those who are chosen. Each one is beautiful, and each one my heart grows a little because of knowing. Finally, I give thanks for a daughter who is growing up to be someone I admire and respect, and I don’t take that lightly. I only know a drop in the bucket of what she has to deal with, and how often she has to regroup and stand strong in her beliefs. And for me, that’d be enough to have me toppling over, falling to my knees, crying “Uncle”–really hoping one of mine would show up to straighten the situation out.
But not my girl. She takes care of business. She’s brave and strong, and even though she’s not always happy about it (I can be a slow learner at times), she is teaching me to be those things too. She empowers me and challenges me to be my best self. For her, for her siblings, and for this world.
Yeah, well, I get that from my daughter.
Love to all.