yet another proms & potties entry….
lately baby-lily has been trying to figure out where she came from. she wants me to “be-member” (her word for remember) people, places, and events that were BL (before lily). for example….this is one of her favorite questions: “mommy, do you miss your daddy?” now, to a 4-year-old, this is a harmless question–trying to figure out why her dad has a dad who she calls grandpa, but i don’t. to me, however, it’s a loaded question. my dad died last year, but i had broken contact with him years before that. so, the question “do i miss him” has double meaning. yes, i miss him, but i have missed him for so long that when he died, i didn’t feel the loss. how sad for me…
other questions lily’s posed are weird things like saying she misses her mamaw’s mother and father (her words!!) who, of course she didn’t know. tonight, she wanted to know what mamaw’s kitty’s name was and what her great-grandma’s dog’s name was. these questions she’s getting from having “talks” with my mom, but i can’t for the life of me figure out what kind of crap my mom’s saying to her! she says stuff like she misses people who are dead, and who there’s no way she could know. and then she starts crying about them!! i know–weird!
this need to know where she came from must be innate, right? she’s trying to put the pieces of “before lily time” in some sort of perspective. i picked her up tonight and held her for a few minutes after one of her “be-member” questions and told her that it’s hard to understand that there was life before her. and toddlers are not only egocentric, but also concrete thinkers. when her dad is gone to work or out of town, she misses him–so if my dad is not around, then i must miss him, too.
i’m remembering a quote from the m0vie version of dennis the menace. old man wilson, in a moment of aggrivati0n with all dennis’s questions, said, “you sure do ask a lot of questions.” to which dennis honestly replies, “i’ve only been here six years; there’s a lot of stuff i don’t know yet.” that’s my lily!!
on the other hand, there’s the jakester who, even at 17 (almost 18, mom!), doesn’t ever ask questions about family. heck, he doesn’t even want me to “be-member” things from his childh0od. when did those questions go away? well, actually, i don’t really know if he ever asked about stuff when he was lily’s age. but why does he n0t want to know about things that happened when he was little? i mean, he didn’t have such a rough time–no abuse, no poorhouse; i didn’t even become an alcoholic when it would have been oh, so easy!! ha! it’s only because i’ve written him a letter on each of his birthdays that he’ll have any memory at all!!
i understand this, too, strange as it seems. i have blocked out so much from growing up that i’ve lost people and events. i wish i had taken an undergraduate english class more seriously and had my grandmother tell me all her stories and written them down. if i’d known that my uncle was gonna die so young, i could have had him tell me stories. but, that’s the gift of hindsight!
so, i’ve decided to use my writing to “be-member” and, strangely, that has helped. i try to write things honest, but i know i embellish. not in a bad way, th0ugh; however, i do want jake and lily to have those stories. i want them to “be-member” not just when i’m gone, but now, when they need them.
and we all need stories–we all need connections; even when we pretend we’ve cut ourselves off or that the stories don’t matter or that they are too hurtful. our stories make us who we are.