Friday, August 3, 2012

Suck it, July!

I hate July.  Aside from the fact it's always a month where I'm perpetually hot, sweaty, and sticky, July is a month where, if I'm going to have a bout of sadness, that's when it happens.  Years apart, I lost two of the most influential people in my life--my mother and my grandmother--both in the month of July.

While my mom was a profound influence in my life, we didn't have the best buddies relationship many mothers and daughters do.  By the age of 28, she was the divorced parent of a five year old.  Within three years, my father would disappear completely, with only intermittent resurfacings.  His disappearance also included his child support payments.  As a result, quite honestly, my mom and I were robbed of a close relationship.  Our time together was rushed and hurried and frenzied, because she needed to get to the next job, the next class, the next place where she might be able to make a few bucks to get the ends closer together; never meeting, just closer together.  While there were, of course, good memories I have, there are far more memories of notes that had directions for chores, meals to start, and what time I needed to get myself to bed.  Still, I took away from my childhood and my mom an absolute independence that has served me well.  It kills me to need anything from anyone, and that makes me a big picture person.  I stand on my own two feet, and if people don't like me, that's fine.  My mom taught me life isn't about what others think of me, it's about what I think of myself.  This July, she's been gone 11 years.

Because my mom had little time and was often busy being the breadwinner and disciplinarian in the house, I spent a lot of weekends with my grandparents.  At one point, while my mom finished her degree, we even lived with them.  This situation was a real blessing for both my grandmother and me.  My grandfather was at the middle of a long illness, but he was still able to work and keep a normal schedule.  My grandmother was on the cusp of being an empty nester, and as a lifelong homemaker, I'm sure that was a daunting prospect.  So it was with great happiness she welcomed a 12 year old into the house (seriously, who thinks that way?).  It may sound odd, but we did SO much together.  Yes, I had friends my own age, but I've always enjoyed the company of my grandmother.  Even when I was 16, my mom and I were back on our own, I still made time to go shopping and out to lunch with my grandmother.  Long before the current debates over stay at home vs work outside the home moms, my grandmother showed me the inherent dignity, worth, and necessity of being a homemaker.  She also showed me the importance of having something that is your own as a mother.  Even more important, she introduced me to music, its beauty, and how it feeds the soul.  This July, she's been gone 21 years.

I usually focus on the good things my mom and grandma gave me, and I like to commemorate their birthdays and such, not when they passed.  But I notice I feel more sadness in July, without even really knowing why.  So I'm saying adios, July!  I can totally wait for you to come around again!

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