Childhood Memories

25 Oct

I’m an orphan. That term feels a little strange applied to a woman in her upper 60’s so I’ll change it to adult orphan which per Wikipedia can be applied to an adult who has out lived the parents. That is the normal state of things so it doesn’t make me special in any way. I have also outlived my only sibling which has been harder to accept.

Over the last 27 years since my father passed, there have been times I would have liked to ask his opinion on things. At other times I knew he would approve when I took my sons camping or fishing. He was a man who admired sunsets and watching the behavior of birds. There is no question that I developed my love of the out of doors from him. At least one of my granddaughters shares that love of nature so I think it is in the genes.

Thoughts of my mother do not evoke similar warm memories. We rarely saw eye to eye. We managed our relationship as long as I lived 2,000 miles away. She would have liked to spend more time with her grandsons but she didn’t approve of the way I raised them. She thought I should have been more strict. I hated it whenever I found myself sounding just like her when dealing with their teenage challenges. Recently my oldest son confessed that he found himself sounding like me or his father as he deals with his oldest daughter who is now in her teens. I doubt if that is in the genes but I did feel better knowing that is probably normal responses. There are advantages to being a grandmother 2,000 miles away.

My brother and I weren’t terribly close but he was my brother. We shared a history. The five year difference in our ages meant that we were in different stages of our lives during our younger years and then we held different beliefs during our middle years. We spent a few decades trading Mother back and forth with phone calls that started with, “Do you know what your mother has done now?” During the year that his daughter planned her wedding, we found a common ground by calling Mother, Nikki’s Grandmother. Near the end of her life, he had Mother duty because he lived closer. I also reminded him that as children he claimed they weren’t really my parents because I was adopted. I wasn’t but turn about seemed fair play.

My husband and I hoped that we would spend more time with my brother and his wife once we were all retired. It didn’t get a chance to happen. My brother became ill at the same time we purchased our house in Texas. He was gone long before we moved 1,000 miles closer. With him went someone to share childhood memories.

I recently started to go through the boxes of old pictures. I plan to scan some, toss some and send others to my sons. There are lots of them as small children through teen years. Many are of the trips we took and holiday get-togethers. They were decorating their baseball hats with the bows from Christmas packages or trying to look cool as they rode their horses in the corral after our trail ride in Wyoming. Even better were the times they posed with an arm across shoulders of each other or me. They are no longer close with lives that have gone in opposite directions. They do, however, share a history. Maybe the day will come that they trade me back and forth as their mother. That is the nature of things.

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