My mother paid for me to have piano lessons back in Selma when I was a little girl. I found it to be too complicated and frustrating and I didn’t have a piano to practice the drills my piano teacher gave me after each lesson. I never did follow through. As an adult, I dreamed of taking up learning how to play the piano again, but I never imagined the possibility of it being a reality. Now, look at me with extra mental space to fill and time to dream out loud. Right now, I take a break from practicing scales, chords, and twinkle twinkle little star. It’s amazing how things work out.
Wednesday has proved to be an eventful day of the week given the news I received this year. Earlier this year, in February, my son called me to tell me he had to tell me something and that I should sit down. He goes on to say, “I’m locked up, and I have a baby on the way.” Just like that on a Wednesday. What a difference a month makes. February, my son told me from jail upstate he was going to be a father and the next month I was a grandmother. Often, there is no hand-holding when life happens.
My granddaughter coming into my life has brightened my life. I’m so grateful to her mother for bringing her here even as topsy-turvy as it may be, at the moment, while in the hands of a narcissist president. Walking into a hospital room to meet my granddaughter’s mother for the first time was one of the hardest things I had to do this year. Walking into that room knowing that all the preconceived notions waiting behind the door were all understandable given the circumstances. My son’s decisions have affected this new string of family members. They already met me in my son’s upsetting choices. They didn’t know me, but they did know my son’s current residence.
The second half of this year didn’t go as planned or expected either. I was grateful to cross off a bucket list item. Visiting Niagara Falls with my best friend for my birthday felt like it was straight out of a fantasy. We took in the tourist attractions allowing the falls to drench us from head to toe. Now that I know how this year’s story ends, this trip was the proverbial calm before the unchartered yet familiar storm of old creeping up to snatch my breath away once more.
Wednesday, August 15th I received a text from my daughter telling me she is running away to her father’s house because “she wants to be happy.” This day was already rough for me because I was on my way from home after seeing my cranky granddaughter who cried every time I tried to pick her up. I was already feeling lonely and that my granddaughter didn’t like my energy. Now, this.
The words I read on my iPhone screen made my stomach churn. I always wondered how it would happen. The pain I felt was so strong I couldn’t even respond to the woman at the bus stop as she complimented me on my shoes. I had to sit down and breathe through the beginning of the rest of my new life. The pain was from an old sore that has never had the time to heal from 10 years of custody battles. I frantically called my daughter, her father; no answer. This was simply a mother’s knee-jerk reaction. There are still no real answers, not from my daughter, only alienation. I knew what was happening, but I wasn’t ready to let go. I understand that she is under the influence of her best friend, her father. I already forgive her.
You never know how much space children take up in your mind until they are gone. These later events were authored for pain. And, I will assure you, there is still faint pain even its ripple effect. That same pain turned out to be the beginning of a new kind of freedom. For the first time in my life, I was allowed to explore the questions I never thought I could answer. Who are you outside of being a mother? What do you truly like? What are your dreams? Who are you?
Now, I sit at my laptop writing this blog as I gaze over at my keyboard of 88 keys my mother and my father bought for me. I think of my short-term and long-term goals. I didn’t even have those before. My life dictated to me what I will do, be or not accomplish. I have allowed myself to be tired of the old and now I embrace the new.