2015-01-02 - 7:23 p.m.
I am so happy to see a cousin by relationship of mine post "ENGAGED" and my MOM hit "LIKE" in congratulations on Facebook.
We've come a long way...
Its fascinating and wonderful to watch OLDER people grow, change and evolve.
Growth happens, no matter what stage of life one is in to some degree. That is until the challenge of what seems like a regression and return to childhood.
It was something that I watching in my grandmother, as she came to terms with years of learned racism and learned to see the nurses who cared for her by a lens other than what she had been told about "black" people much of her life.
When she first lived with us she shunned a wonderful Jamaican nurse. After a few more nurses, the worst of whom were white, she then was lucky to have an absolutely beautiful loving attentive young woman named Lucinda with the darkest skin care for her.
Luncinda was from some Carribean island. I have no recollection where. She too might have been Jamaican, but regardless of where she was from, she was the person who in the end actually was my grandmother's closest friend in the final year of her life.
It was a remarkable transformation to watch years of racism overcome by the personal experience which proved otherwise of the preconceived and not formerly well questioned ideas my grandmother had been fed.
With my old landlord Annie it was very similar when she realized once summer was over that my boyfriend and that time was not dark due to a tan.She marveled at what a nice young man he was 'even thought he was colored". It was amazing to hear these old people use language which was otherwise archaic.
So today when I saw my mother hit "LIKE" I did not assume that she was not actually aware and accepting of my cousin and her lesbian lover who are now engaged. I assume my mother has in time ACCEPTED this is the reality of my cousin, and not only accepted, but in time has grown to love and embrace BOTH my cousins- the one by blood and the one by marriage who after twenty plus years together are going to be wed in New York State.
This means a lot to me. My one cousin was my choice of a sponsor when I was to be confirmed. At the time I SHOULD have stuck to my guns and insisted, but I bowed to the criticism and pressure of my mother who said I should not ask her. I did not understand WHY she had her reservations and talked me out of it at the time. I think it was years later I understood it was that my cousin who I looked up to as a role model ( the female lawyer in the family), was a LESBIAN.
That recollection made me think my mother KNEW ALL THOSE YEARS, KNEW all along that my cousin was a lesbian. So it not only irritated me but perplexed me when one year I commented ,in talking about how much I admired my Father, how I thought it was so wonderful that my Dad had embraced by cousin and her partner and baptized each of their five adopted children into the Catholic Faith. I was in awe of my DAD who had the ability to accept that which he did not understand and had the ability to embrace all into the church without judgment at a time when many Catholic clergy were not doing so.
I was just shocked when my mom got defensive at that time and said " Don't make assumptions, SHE IS THE NANNY"
It was just so clear my cousin and her lovely partner were a couple that the denial surprised me.
It didn't just surprise me however, it angered me. It angered me how we could all gather an their home when they opened it to family and some of the family would go and just PRETEND they were not a lesbian couple.
So I head on faced the issue. We had a family YAHOO GROUPS and when the next family reunion was announced at my cousins I thanked them for having started that tradition and allowing our family to grow and accept and love them even though they at first were different and unusual and challenged some of our family.
I just didn't want the hypocrisy and loved how instead of feel unwelcomed my cousin and her partner did the inviting and embraced OUR Family in THEIR home. I think that was the best example of how a lesbian or gay couple who is the first in a traditional family that may be resistant can overcome the discomfort some may have. ALLOW OTHERS INTO YOUR WORLD and they then may also be open to you being in theirs.
I am sure it was not EASY for my cousins. It was beautifully done however, and the first year of the reunion very few showed, but in time those numbers grew over the years.
Many of the family have moved away from the L.I. area my family was from, but these cousins remain so it is super fun now when many come back to visit for the reunion.
So today, it was with delight that I saw the post.
And the "LIKE" from my mother.
Yes, even old are still growing.
I have watched my mother overcome her own strongholds of prejudices and her own judgmental nature and soften over these years. I have this theory no one moved on in stages in life until they tie up the loose ends of the prior in some way. As I read or hear of and so called WATCH my friends care for their elderly parents, it reminds me to make a point of spending time with my own to the extent I can.
My parents are certainly not perfect, but I feel like indeed they have resolved issues in themselves. So I best spend time with them while I am able!!
Fortunately their health is good overall, with typical ailments of aging, but nothing unusual, chronic, or unsurmountable. My mother has fought lymphoma and beat it. She had suffered some back pain of late, some other surgeries (tumor found and removed a few years back), and is resting from the last round of medical procedures for a cracked vertebrae. She however is healing and resting and feeling better every day.
My Dad was clearly slowing down when I saw him last. He always was busy working, constantly in motion except when reading. He is very much like one of my brothers, and me come to think of it, with that workaholic gene. It was interesting to see when I visited him last year that he was shuffling a bit and suddenly looked and walked like an old man.
In these years it has been an absolute blessing that my one brother lives with them, and the oldest brother moved to FL to be near them all years ago. My oldest brother did just get married in Vietnam, and is there with the younger who teaches English there, but he will bring his bride back to Fl as soon as able.