Candy blogs: As I’ve been preparing for speaking at this upcoming women’s retreat, I’ve been browsing through time a bit. The theme is Because Everyone Has a Story. I thought I would re-post this piece from 2009.
Lately I have been slightly lost in time. I’ve been remembering the past and dreaming about the future. There have been times in my life where I think I’ve actually experienced “visions” (sounds creepy, I know, but I mean it in the most normal way possible). When I was a Creative Memories Consultant and started developing talks about family photographs, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a photograph of my grandparents when they were first married. The picture was taken in a logging camp in northern Idaho, where they lived when they were first married. My grandmother was wearing a HALTER TOP!
I don’t need to tell you that I had NEVER imagined my grandmother in a halter top. To me, she was always a “Grandma.” She was always old, walked with a painful limp, seemed to be ill frequently, was a fabulous cook, and had the beautiful gift of hospitality. She loved me unconditionally and I loved her very much. But this picture opened up a whole new world of Blanche Bertholf to me. I began to think about her as a WOMAN instead of a grandmother.
Grandma sang soprano, was a church bookkeeper, hosted Sunday Schools in her home, put on fancy dinners and events for young people, didn’t have the modern conveniences until late in life, recycled-repurposed-reused way before the green movement, loved cookies and vanilla ice cream, was always kind to animals, and was a gamer before gaming was cool. She was once young, beautiful, vibrant, healthy and passionate about her man! What a woman!
I had a similar revelation when I realized my mother was a person … a woman and not just a mother. Years ago when I was going through some counseling and learning to move on from a difficult childhood, the counselor helped me realize that I could look back at my childhood from an adult perspective and see it for what it really was. I could also look at my mother in this way, realizing that she made the best choices she could in the times she lived in. She is a whiz at English and grammar and punctuation, is a very talented and innovative musician, was a great cook (loved her fried chicken dinner the best), has a strong administrative ability, loves the computer and looks younger than she is. She taught me to sing harmony and play the piano by ear. What a woman!
The other day my married daughter was over visiting and we talked until late. About halfway through our conversation I was absolutely stopped dead in my tracks again. Our topics of conversation were no longer about simple girlie things as in the past. We talked about career choices and children and finances and friends going through marriage struggles. Now we were talking about adult things … woman to woman. My DAUGHTER was now a woman! And what a woman she is! She is a fabulous photographer, talented musician, is confident and strong, accepts people as they are, doesn’t follow blindly, and gives great advice.
So I’ve been rather floating between the generations of late, enjoying the memories of my mother and her mother and feeling grateful for the things from them that make me who I am. And also cherishing my own adult daughter, feeling pride in who she has become and knowing that she carries pieces of me in her that make her who she is. I am thankful for this “timeline”. Grandma, mOm, Abbey and I are all part of the ages, after all. We are all passing on our faith, influence, character traits, values … our legacy.