I have something to write about!
My grandparents have been on a genealogy kick for a few years, which led my husband to talk to his father about his family’s experience in Vietnam and coming to America (as requested by my grandmother). That, along with just starting our own family, thinking about Isaac (and the new baby) and his future, how much he’s learning, what I was like when I was his age and reflecting on my own teenage life and trying to remember how things happened and why, has really made me regret not knowing anything about my biological mom or her family.
I say biological because my parents divorced when I was two and when my dad remarried, we moved from Nevada to Kentucky. My relationship with my mom has been strained and tumultuous, mostly because of her mental illness and inconsistencies, but also because of things I said when I grew older and became upset with her. I’ve seen her three, maybe four times in my life, only two of which I remember.
Anyway, somehow I’ve been in touch with my (half?) aunt, and her/my mom’s dad through Facebook and I finally asked my aunt if she had any information to provide me. Shortly after that, my grandpa sent me his number and today, I gave him a call for the first time.
I was so, so anxious.
But when we hung up, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was great to have some answers, even if they were incomplete.
I found out my grandpa’s family is Polish, and my grandma (who he’s no longer in touch with) is Italian – I’ll have to email him later to get their very Italian last name down. :)
In a way it was a sad conversation. My mom is bipolar, which has affected her life in every way. Her mother no longer speaks to her, I honestly haven’t decided if I’ll call the number my grandpa gave me to contact her, and I would imagine not many things have worked out the way she had planned in her life.
I first began questioning her when I began really wrestling with my own emotional problems when I was a teenager. My parents struggled with me in a way that really harmonized with my grandpa’s description of my mom’s childhood with her mother and stepfather. We tried so many therapies and medications.
The point is, when I tried to ask her questions, she was incapable of answering them. Not that she didn’t know the answers, just that she acted as though I didn’t ask them. She talked about what she wanted to talk about, which was never specific anyway. Communication with her is very difficult, and very difficult to describe.
I think I will call her eventually. I want to know the details only she can know. Unfortunately, I know it won’t flow as smoothly and naturally as the conversation today did.
I thought about that, about her mind and about her behavior and about how I can’t blame her for it. But how do you draw the line? How do you resolve to keep a relationship that will inevitably crash?
Each time I try, we hit a wall when she doesn’t understand why I won’t move out there. Be with her. Her biggest dream is to have all of her children under one roof for a holiday or a dinner or something. Part of me, after thinking about it today, after thinking about her in a human way, wants to make that happen.
I would want someone to try to understand me if I were her.
And sometimes I can relate to her in an uncomfortable way. I feel like my “prognosis” is better than hers. I’m already more stable than she is. But I can see it. Sometimes you don’t have to look hard at all to see it, and that’s hard to say.
And making that connection today, with her dad, was so great. He was so kind and willing and helpful. He tried, and he still does, to help her. To at least communicate with her.
Part of me is so relieved and so excited. I know things I’ve never known, things that most people grow up knowing. Like their grandmother’s name. Their heritage. Where their parents grew up. What kind of people their parents or grandparents are. Where their grandparents live. And just stories. History.
And then part of me is anxious again.
Anxious about the next call.
About starting the cycle again.