In the late 1990's I made a quilted wall hanging from a pattern called "We May All Have Our Differences" by Linda Christensen.
A photo of this quilt was pasted to a card I received today....from my mother.
This quilt may have planted the seeds to my Lady that was to follow.
I actually did the hand appliqué that this pattern required. It was my one and only hand appliquéd quilt....ever, and I gave it as a gift to my mother.
How ironic is the name...."We may all have our difference" and its deeper message besides the body's shape and size. And, that I created this quilt before my breakdown into reality from denial.
I continue to marvel how my quilts have been speaking to me and how I missed their deeper message.
As I sit here, a new grandmother; what has been the most profound is My Legacy.
I feel the space I am offering to my little granddaughter.
Another avenue that wasn't open to me.
I have forged new ground.
Shown another way to deal with abuse.
Modeled how it isn't a life sentence...nor does it have to be handed down.
By going against my mother and her chosen path, I have given my children and their children a new way forward.
THIS difference is what has kept my mother and I estranged.
My mother never changed course.
She kept repeating the pattern she was given; denial.
See sin and Bless/ forgive, forget....repeat.
A never ending cycle for abuse to flourish in...and the victim no way out.
As I gazed upon her handwriting, I could not imagine what words she could give me as a new grandmother.
"Grandchildren are a reward for having children. Completely different than a parent. You have all the fun and none of the responsibility." (ironically, she didn't know how to spell responsibility - "she had to look it up," she wrote)
She is so wrong.
Our responsibility to our grandchildren begin with our children.
It begins with our responsibilities of being a authentic women.
It grows from the truth...and our reactions to it.
It isn't just fun and games AFTER neglecting our parenting responsibilities.
I feel as a grandmother that I have lived a life that my granddaughter can be proud of. My morals and my values have content. They are not just words or sentiments of a religion's facade...or thoughts in my head. I live my morals and values in action and deed.
I literally feel that I have deflected or neutralized the legacy of my mother upon my grandchild...by being a different woman than my mother. By doing what she wasn't able to do...to walk away from family; when family abuses.
And, she comes in seemingly free of any responsibilities of what her parenting did to me...and feels she is entitled to continue engaging with me...regardless of my actions of estrangement.
She isn't responsible for my childhood damage; nor is she responsible for the work and effort I have done to rid myself of its mark.
She appears to be oblivious to her legacy and thee affects it had upon her children...and their children. What does she feel she has imprinted upon us? What marks do we carry from her and her life's choices?
I know she doesn't know know know what she has done; what her true legacy is. That the only thing she can hand down is what she has lived. No would of, could of, should of, is passed down. Just how you responded to life.
We can only experience our parents by what they do; not by what they meant to do.
I know that some feel she loved us.
She did her best and loved us.
But the proof is in how we each feel about ourselves; our self esteem.
Did she protect and fight for our innocence and little child self?
Did she put aside all of her comfort and connections to our abusers.
Did she see the child first and then herself?
As a mother; did she nurture us and keep us from harm....or, when the abuse was discovered, did she make drastic changes to ensure we never had to be with our abuser again?
How can a woman who shirked her responsibilities as a mother...become a grandmother and then a great-grandmother?
Is it possible to keep skirting your responsibilities...but claiming the roles?
I feel that I have earned the right to be called grandma.
I have created a safe place for children.
I have shown I can keep my distance from folks who abuse or who are friends with abusers.
I am a real grandma.
A safe grandma.
This feeling has filled me with great peace.
I know that I prepared this place for the little ones who will come into our family.
They will not have the same landscape I had to endure.
There will be someone in their family who has set the pattern in place that shows what to do when abuse walks in.
I may have been a slow starter....but once I began, I did not stop until I cleared away all that wasn't love.
My beautiful little granddaughter will know love.
For I now know what love is.
Love is being responsible for your own truth.
Love is being free to be yourself.
All she has to ever do is be herself, and live her truth.
Grandma showed her how!
This is my legacy!
My Ladies are women who dance to their own truths!