When I look at the continental divides of my generational family, it looks more like the San Andreas Fault rather than the Everything Fits Neatly Into Little Boxes In A Tree fairy tale series I tried to squeeze it into.
Those store-bought baby albums didn’t accommodate divorced and remarried grandparents… or any other deviation from The Perfect Family. Do we just pretend it is a picture-perfect mirage? Or adjust the structure to accommodate our imperfect story?*
It’s okay to be different! Which is why I got into that craze called Scrapbooking to create the album myself. It didn’t have to be perfect, but it needed to reflect our reality – or something like that. Our neighbourhood in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario reflected the diversity of Canada. If I chose a Godparent for my son today, she is Muslim. Or she could be Jewish.
Sometimes I think those scrapbook pages represented what I desperately wanted: To be able to record special memories because they were special to all three of us. I didn’t want Matt to remember his first Christmas without a Christmas tree, and how I plastered a smile on my tears and carried on as best I could. But my heart cracked and alcohol ran along the edge to seep into me. It is then that family and friends say the twinkle in my eye was almost too tiny to see.
I vividly remember the time my son was standing in his crib – proud as a peacock – for pulling himself up. I laughed with delight and said, “Don’t move!” and ran to get my camera. That moment is still with me, but I am not sure he would feel the same. Did he know why I ran away?
Just know that no one could have been prouder of you than your Mom. The camera was not more important, but the look of triumph on your face was priceless. I can still see you grinning from ear to ear in a mismatched set of jammies while holding on to the railing of the crib with confidence. You didn’t crawl, you got up and cruised at seven months… which meant we were constantly on our feet. Houses were filled with danger; like the full set of pro kitchen knives clinging to the wall of the magnetized board and within your full reach. I would walk on pins and needles every step of the visits, but was always happy to see family. I’d fall asleep as soon as you did.
I weep for the loss my son suffered; name, identity, financial, emotional… countless ways you nor I don’t even know exist. To be denied by his father? How do I know this? Because I too suffered this existential crisis at every level; as a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister and aunt, I questioned the cornerstone of my career, my choices, my life, my family tree and all the glorious bastards and misfits on each side… and my fears.
Do any of us have perfect lineage? Family? Is there anyone who is truly without a skeleton, or six rows of threefold in your closet? To have faults is to be human; a curse we have all been blessed with. We have a lifetime to choose… so choose wisely. I am grateful for my heritage. Why? Because I have one. I didn’t choose it, but I am a long lineage of great grandchildren of Adam & Eve.
How cool a privilege is that?
Even when I was in my self-proclaimed atheist phase, I remember my commitment to God from my 12-year-old self.
“What if there is a God?”
Then I best stick as close to him as possible! I will err on the side of caution and be with the Lord. Faith really is a yes or no question. I am just glad I made that connection before disconnecting even farther from God. I needed to deep dive into science and all that brainy stuff so I could root around for the truth myself. He finally fished me back out of the sea.
It is that path that is unique for each and everyone of us. Everyone can toss their Ring into the fire. Surrender to God as I did. I will help you find your way.
* This is why I occasionally use guidelines to break the rules.
P.S. Choose wisely: https://www.archtoronto.org/Blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?List=34d5a203%2D1fa3%2D4c04%2Dac64%2D0bcae6f89efa&ID=222&Web=625770c8%2D7f72%2D4fbe%2D9231%2D8ce59324a881
P.P.S. Noah’s Ark wants as much diversity in life as possible.
P.P.P.S. My dyslexia applies to time and space as well… lol! https://foxdiaries.com/2020/07/17/the-calling/