foxtrot

i wear my grandmother’s wedding ring on my middle finger, right hand.

it was given to me by my mother, a few years back. she is one of 11 children. the middle child. out of all of her children my grandmother gave her the ring. its a simple gold band. thin, too small to fit on over my mother’s knuckles, apparently. i often spin it around my finger and find it odd that out of everyone in my family, i have this ring. i have something ridiculous like 30 first cousins. i have never met two of my uncles.

i never met my grandfather either. he died when my mother was just 21. i have visited his birthplace in edinburgh though, and his picture sits in a frame on my dresser. he’s wearing a brown plaid coat, sitting in a lawn chair at my aunts farm, laughing with his face tilted away from the camera. its one of those photos were the person looks genuinely happy. or at least looks so. my mother has the same smile.

i have so few photographs of my mother. she hates having her picture taken and rarely smiles a real smile. i use to have a photograph of her when she was about 5. we look identical, its kind of scary. i carried it with me forever, and just recently misplaced it. i haven’t had the heart to tell her i lost it. i’m still holding out hope it will some day surface. hopefully not lost in the ether, like my pocket watch.

i digress.

whenever i look at my grandmother’s wedding ring, i think of my mother and wonder if she’s happy. she’ll never know, but she’s the reason i devoted so much of my undergrad studies to feminism, why my thesis was spent dissecting female othering, and the male gaze. why i’ll never wear a ring like the one on my right, on my left, or take another’s name. all these years spent trying to figure it out.

happiness.

and she probably forgets that it all stemmed from the day she told me she wasn’t.

so why do i still wear this ring on my finger?

because i’m not ready to give up on the idea that it exists.

happiness. love. and the bag of chips.

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7 Comments

Filed under family, honeybees

7 responses to “foxtrot

  1. My mother once innocently stated she really didn’t like Christmas. “All the preparations, all the work and anticipation… And it’s over too soon.”

    I have not truly enjoyed Christmas since she said this. The statement just resonated with me and implied both a certain consent that maybe I did’t have to pretend to like it either. But moreso it revealed that huge weight of expectation we place on our Mothers; them smiling through it all and keeping us together. Making things right for us… Our relative happiness forever entwined.

    We honour them with but one day a year with flowers and brunches but really we owe them the moon.

    Your mom blessed YOU with a poet’s soul Allison. Your heart firmly pinned to your sleeve. We sure see it there.

    Maybe its just harder to see from your vantage point.

    s

  2. Our mothers really do have a tremendous impact on the direction we take in life, and I’m sure most will never know. I wonder what your mother would think if she ever realized the impact that her statement had upon your life choices. I suspect she would be terrified to ever say anything again.

    No, I kid, but I am sure it would be a shock to her.

    And I hope her picture turns up.

  3. Sean: Were you a child when she stated this? My mom has said that in recent years, but that’s because we always travel over the holidays and its taxing.

    Most defintely. For example, I always remember growing up that my mom never got sick, and the times she did the house fell apart. I never realized how much expectation is placed on the Mother role until I moved out and could look at things from a different angle. We have a much better relationship now because of this.

    Yeah, and I wear my emotions on my face too. This gets me into trouble all the time. ;)

    Barb: Ha, probably. Probably.

    Words have such strong meaning, sometime I think we use them too quickly and forget their impact. I think this why I enjoy the typewriter so, makes you process longer. :)

    Me too, I’m hoping its stuck in a book somewhere and that it will resurface soon.

  4. I too spent much of my academic life studying these subjects and trying to understand the pain my mother suffered and how I suffered because of it. It’s taken a long time and there are still scars but I’ve finally reached the point of being able to see her as a fragile human being and I’ve learned from her mistakes.

  5. PS and I meant to say that your post is beautiful

  6. GT: Thanks. :)

    I think I’m starting to get to that stage. Definitely learning from her mistakes…

  7. Happiness exists. It’s not always where you look for it, but it’s there.

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