It is amazing how childhood memories or the lack of it can stain adulthood.
My parents separated then divorced when I was very young, I do not remember my age when it happens maybe plus or minus five. I don’t know and don’t care so much anymore.
My parents, each with their distinctive emotional pain emigrated to other partner, lifestyle and even country.
Me, I stayed with my maternal grandmother, a huggable looking woman with a withdrawn personality and a serious ailment consuming her days and thoughts. She lived in the same building; same floor a couple doors down from my grandfather with whom she was separated.
My grandfather was a well educated man with a sciatic problem in his legs which prompted him, while walking in the street, to stop and kick walls to mute the pain. Also, drinking red wine was his favorite pass time from the time I knew him.
My maternal grandparents provided me with lots of comfort while growing. My grandmother took the role of my father and mother in all aspects but she was not so good with my school work since she was semi-illiterate. Actually, I wrote the “parents” school notes on her behalf.
One particular teacher would entertain the whole class by reading and pointing out aloud all “her” grammatical errors. I laughed, for my protection, at the mistakes too.
My grandfather was the entertainment director. He took me for walks in the park, carrousel’s ride and outdoor marionette shows.
The public indoor swimming pool was a treat during winter time. His skinny body was pale in contrast to his funny underwear looking swimming costume and when he laughed his dentures would come out of his mouth.
Both grandparents are long passed away. My grand mother lies in a sky blue tomb; my grand father no longer has a mark on his grave.
My mother is the one with whom I have rekindled attachment. She will be eighty soon and with time has regained my honor with her words of love and care. She calls me at least once a month to hear my voice. She says that I am her only family and only child.
My father flashes. He flashes in and out of my life with no commitment or attachment. The intervals between flashes can last years; one lasted more than 15 years. He still attracts my respects but at a different level.
I do not have ill feelings towards my parents. It is unfortunate that we are now scattered over three continents. But in a couple of years I will be sixty and still wish that, as a child, one of them had held my hand to cross the street, pick me up when I fell, be with me for my birthdays, carry me on top of their shoulders or help me open the holiday presents.
I wish my parents had given me an identity, a family tree with my name on it, ,positioned where I belong.
- May Child’s Grandfather Adopt the Child, While the Child’s Mother Retains Her Parental Rights? (volokh.com)
- Christos Tsiolkas: My Greek grandma (guardian.co.uk)
- An Ode to My Grandmother (coutureallure.blogspot.com)