November was National Adoption Month. I wrote an article exclusively for World Moms Blog about my own experience with being adopted. It brought back so many memories that I had to keep writing! This is a continuation of that article. Please visit Adoption~Journey Past Life to start at the beginning.
….. and my grandmother. And without my grandmother to act as a ‘buffer’ between my mother and I, my childhood would have been a lot worse. Of course, I don’t want you to think that my entire childhood was awful, there were good times. Times when my mother took her medication and times when my grandmother was watching over me.
Growing up, I knew my mother had a regular pharmacy in her vanity. Bottles and bottles and bottles of pills. I just never knew what they were until after my mother divorced my father, which was about 4 years ago. My father finally admitted to me that my mother had some mental health issues and had been addicted to pain meds.
I am not the problem.
My grandmother accepted me, always. I couldn’t wait for the summers to come, so I could pack my bags and escape my mother. My grandparents didn’t live close by, they lived about an hour and a half away in a tiny single-wide trailer. And it was heaven to me.
I remember the summer I was 9 or 10. I was staying with my grandparents, and a tornado swept through the cornfields surrounding their trailer park. I understand that tornadoes and trailer parks aren’t a very good combination, but my mother used it as an excuse to limit my visits from then on.
It didn’t deter my grandmother, she just made the long trip in to see me. She would plan her visits during the week and insist that my mother get up and get out of the house with her. She planned all day shopping excursions for us.
My mother grudgingly left the house and her soap operas behind. She tried to tear me down in front of my grandmother, though, commenting on my clothes and my weight and what I ordered for lunch, but my grandmother always managed to make it a special time for me.
I miss my grandmother.
I remember that her favorite song was Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”.
I remember that she used to let me stay up and watch “The Late Show with Johnny Carson”.
I remember she used to pay me a quarter to comb her hair.
I really miss my grandmother.
She was a sentimental type of person who used to mark life events by purchasing a special piece of jewelry. For years she wore a ring with a large green diamond-shaped stone that was set into a simple silver band. I had no knowledge of gemstones and precious metals as a child, I just knew it was always my favorite.
My grandmother and I were obviously very close. Although she didn’t finish high school, she had dreams of attending college, business school in particular. Evidently, she had a knack for numbers. She instilled in me that college was important. Something I should do for myself.
Which is amazing, given that my mother felt the exact opposite. College was one of the biggest things we fought about when I was a teenager. I dreamed of art school. She dreamed of me staying at home. Since her aspirations were that of a wife and mother, she truly thought her daughter shouldn’t aspire to be anything, but the same.
My mother and I had numerous fights about my attending college. She kicked me out of the house shortly after my 17th birthday. It’s ironic, really, that instead of attending college as I had dreamed, I ended up getting married and having a baby, at age 19.
When she kicked me out, the only place I had to go was with my boyfriend’s family. My grandmother lived so far away, it was impractical for me since I was still attending high school. I was a straight-A student, by the way. I was involved in Drama club, Art club and Dance team. I planned on finishing high school and figuring out a way to get to college.
My mother made sure that didn’t happen. Shortly after she realized I was managing quite well on my own, she altered my life immeasurably. She called my high school and informed them I no longer lived within the district. They couldn’t allow me to attend school there anymore. I had 2 options: 1) Attend summer school and take the last 2 classes I needed to graduate (I had taken extra classes each year simply because I loved going to school.) OR 2) Switch districts and attend my senior year at a new school.
I was crushed. I felt so betrayed, worse than when she kicked me out in the first place. I couldn’t attend a new school because I was not legally emancipated and my future in-laws were not my legal guardians. I chose summer school.
I spent a year working after I received my diploma, then my boyfriend was offered a job in Texas. He asked me to marry him, and I accepted. Another year went by, and I gave birth to my daughter.
I was fortunate to have my Grandmother live long enough to witness the birth of a great-grandchild. She passed away 4 months after Veronica was born.
In her will, she left me that ring I so loved as a child. She purchased that ring, a large diamond-shaped peridot set in white gold, to celebrate the birth of my younger older brother. His birthday was in August, peridot being his birthstone. Veronica’s birthday is also in August. It is my single most treasured item from my Grandmother. I wear it everyday as a constant reminder of how much I was loved by her.
I really, really miss my Grandmother.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Amy Hillis from Ohio, USA. When she’s not reminiscing about her Grandmother, she can be found at her own website, Transplanted Thoughts, and on Twitter @transplantedx3 .