Thursday, February 19, 2009

Birthdays and Memories

Its D-SS's 40th birthday today! This is an EVENT! And I want to mark it here. Happy birthday kiddo (no smirking people - I know how 'kiddo' dates me but I don't care) Enjoy your day and the rest of your holiday Mwah! *** Now for something completely different: The One Word Tag set me thinking about parents: we were asked to use one word to associate with them. I was amazed at the volume of impressions I picked up from those one word answers. And I wanted to elaborate on mine. So I'm going to here. Both my parents have been gone for many years now But that was not what sprang to mind when I thought about them. I used the word "brave" for my Mom Because that is the overwhelming impression I have been left with. She was a vibrant, hard working, fun loving and beautiful woman She died in 1988 In fine strong fit health except for the cancer that took her. If that sounds an odd thing to say, I mean that, although she died at 67, she seemed young and strong in every other way. Her life was not easy: my dad was an alcoholic although she protected us from that knowledge for many years. I only found out when I was in Std 9. All I knew was that he was bad tempered and quarrelled with my Mom often. My Mom laughed a lot and worried a lot. But she never let us see she was worrying: she always looked as though she had a handle on everything. If the song "Sisters are doing for themselves" had been around then, it would have been her theme song. Not because she wanted to but because she had to. She coped. She coped with 3 children, 2 of them stroppy Hardly any money, an emotionally absent and difficult husband and a total inability to live out the potential she had. And she somehow made us believe that it was a doddle for her. My word for my Dad was "talented" I dithered between that and "funny" Because he was both Although he was an alcoholic most of my life, the last 10 years of his, he was dry. And mercifully, my strongest memories are of that time. This amazing man emerged from the bad tempered shell he had been hidden in for so long. He could draw; paint; write and was wonderful at cartooning. He was widely read and an interested and interesting talker. Stuck all his life in a clerical job because he was responsible for his family, he was never able to live out his creative potential either. I remember his phoning me and, without any other comment, read a funny passage from a book amid delighted chortles. He more than made up for the lost years: I am so grateful for those final 10. Man! That felt good! It was great for me to write this Its probably less so for you to read it but this one's REALLY for me *grin*


Simply-Mel said...

I really want to cry when I read this. I just wish I had *known* them.

Gran I knew as much as she would allow us to know her. You understand what I mean.

And it pains me (esp when I read this) that I never got to meet Grandpa. Thanks for sharing this Ma, meaningful for me too.

Anonymous said...

You guys are awake too early....

Its an amazing post mom. Time spent with gran was always exciting, climbing the tree, sitting in the aviary, collecting chickens eggs, sewing stuff and phoning her when I needed pound/ounce measurement convertions! Actually a ton of memories are coming back now!

I remember watching g'pa paint and visiting him in his flat... i know that i loved them alot. XX

Lynette said...

Wonderful post Allie, and it also made me think very deeply. My dad is an alcoholic, my mom is also a very strong woman, sometimes I think that is their survival strategy. It also made me think of how I would like to remember them one day. My dad is one of the most intelligent people that I have ever known...and I choose to remember that about him.

allie said...

Fantastic comments guys.

Lynette, it seems that the way we remember our parents has little to do with choices: it just emerges.
I was quite surprised to see what came up about them for the One Word Tag game.
It forced me to crysallize what my main impression is of them.

Yes Mel, I wish you had more memories of them too - I can see why you would feel you were robbed.

Lisa I am amazed and thrilled that you have so many and that they are so clear.
You should chat to Mel about them - she needs that.

Be warned, younger people, the memories that kids have of their grandparents are vivid right through life.

So prepare now to be amazing grandparents, ok?
It should take your attention off trying to be amazing parents for a while at least

Ordinarylife said...

I agree with your comment about the memories kids have of their grandparents. I only really knew my mom's mom but she was a fantastic woman and both my sister and I talk about her alot. The poor woman gets the blame for all our crazy adventures. She was couragous, funny and way ahead of her time.

If we decide to go travelling around the world, or climb a mountain or do Ironman we tell our mom - blame Gran. Not because she did them but because she probably would have had the times been different.

Joanne said...

What a lovely post Alie, it was really 'great' for me to read.

Shayne said...

This was a lovely post! Both my sets of grandparents passed away when I was fairly young, and I really have very few memories of them.

Those i have, are wonderful, warm and fuzzy - which I think memories of grandparents should be.

That's why I get so sad - my mum is in the UK and never sees my girls, my ex's mum has just been diagnosed with the BIG C and has little time left, and my DH's mum just doesn't "get" my eldest.

Grandparents play an integral role in our memories.

But ALlie - this was about your parents!!! So i've digressed hugely.

I think we remember what we want to - and often have a great deal of forgiving to go through when we ourselves reach adults.

I think you need to award yourself your GReat Post award for this Allie!

Rambler said...

A beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to them - and you as their legacy...

Kevin Davis said...

Good post - happy b-day for D-SS.

Susan said...

A beautiful post, Allie!! Thanks for sharing. I have a question...what is "stroppy"? That is not a term with which I am familiar.

I came to see your tag and I'll do it later this weekend after I get back to normal.



allie said...

Hi Susan
Goood to hear from you.
Hmmm, 'stroppy'?

It means defiant, difficult, awkward to handle.
One of them was me, I'm sorry to have to admit.
But we had a good relationship anyway.

Joanne, Kevin and Rambler -thanks guys!

Pamie, your grandmother sounds amazing!
Obviously you have lots of her genes!

Shayne, ja, I can see why you would feel sad about the lack of grandparents presence in your kids lives - specially about your own Mom. I bet she's not happy about missing out on them and you, either.

Sorry that the one that is here doesn't get your elder daughter: that must be hard for you to watch. .

And thanks for the vote for the "GP" award for me

Never ceases to amaze me - the posts that people like.
I really thought this one was purely self indulgent.
The response has been amazing.