The nuances that make up a person always intrigue Me. I found it difficult to embrace my own over the years, but I still find them interesting. It interests Me that all my genealogy and cultural makeup gets pooled into one hell of a mould … and that I create, balance, move with, embrace or reject any, some, all or none of the parts I need. A Jewish, Scottish, Maori, French-Canadian, English and possibly Irish Woman … Oooosh … now that smacks a punch don’t it ;)
#throwback First published 5th May 2015 @ 2319
So I have more information now, pieces to add to my story and fill in the gaps. I think sometimes it’s easy to tell yourself a narrative that isn’t exactly exact. You tend to fill in the missing pieces with other bits of missing pieces. Finding out the context of an environment or situation seems to just make it all slot together to make a whole, a whole lot better.
Turns out we are not a family huge on talking even though we talk plenty! Seems like I missed a few important details…good details…and not so nice details, which make the picture a bit more robust.
I was born at 8pm. Apparently my Nan was a 10 month carrier so my ‘lateness’ to arrive on the scene was actually right on time, well right on time for our gene pool lol! My Mama says she began labour “exactly 24 hrs earlier. Long hard labour”. She says she “didn’t know what was normal for a labour so just went with it as you do :)”. As it turned out I was coming chin/face first & had to be turned with forceps. It was very painful for her. But she says it was “so worth it.” For Me it makes sense that I don’t sleep at night well…I’m a night baby! :), so I think I’ll stop fighting it and just roll with it…if I’m awake I’m awake, if I’m tired I’ll go to sleep. Sorted! Well that was a whole lot easier than stressing over not sleeping! And it go figures that I’m stilling arriving at a destination or situation, chin and face first lol! Apparently I’m designed to do just that! Make a pain staking but memorable entrance lol, sorry Mama ;)
But most importantly, I found out, I was in fact, wanted…very very much wanted.
Mama says’ “Oh you were so looked forward to. I’m so sorry you were wounded from this. I actually went to bed two weeks early in my pregnancy because I was going to lose you, and I didn’t want to lose you. I was at home then with Nana & Grandad. When I first found I was pregnant, I’m not sure if your father knew or not then, but I went…to look for work. I was staying in a dive in town while I looked. I remember buying wool and starting to knit for you. Later when I went back” home “(I worked…for a month or so in a Rest Home for the elderly) I recall folding and refolding your clothes every day. Decorating your bassinette with lace & frills. Knitting and sewing more clothes. Buying a pram. I was seeing your father & we were looking for a house to live in when I was around 6 months pregnant. I wanted to end our relationship as I sensed it wasn’t going to work & wasn’t really happy with him. But…I wasn’t happy anyway in myself & never had been….I spent a lot of my youth not wanting to live. It was too painful. But yes, you were very much wanted. Abortion was NEVER a consideration. (And not to condemn any who choose that route but I just never considered it). When you were born it was the most wonderful experience … I would gaze at you every day in your crib in wonderment at your perfection. I loved you dearly. You were perfect. I talked to you constantly … breast fed you for 8 months … tried my very best to be a good mum. I think somewhere along the line as life seemed to get harder (as it does in a relationship of any sort let alone an abusive one) I had less & less to give out to you. I was trying to make sense of life and what to do. This was my only reason for wanting to end my life. It was never you. I suppose I’d reached a place where I wanted to back up and opt out… however I’d made decisions I couldn’t back up on and one was, I now had another life in my womb to consider. Bear in mind too, back then it was unheard of to go to a counselor. There weren’t any. It wasn’t on anybody’s radar. You just figured stuff out for yourself. A family Doctor was the nearest thing you’d get to that … a 5 minute chat. This would’ve been the period when I was late in pregnancy, and living with your father…It was very hard. An abusive partner, me lost, the big responsibility of parenthood looming and not knowing what to do.
When your father’s father died I was just then contemplating separating but I didn’t have the heart to leave him right then so went to the taangi. It was there I” became a Christian, I “urged…to get married. And we did. But things just got worse.”
It was accurate that my father was cruel to my mother, violent to be truthful. Apparently an abusive man at the time; jealous and possessive; a drunk and violent person, who threw around ridiculous accusations of unfaithfulness and spent more time at the pub than with his family. My mother was afraid of him, and rightly so by the sounds of her recollections of him. She recalled ‘being hit occasionally and having a black eye once’…one too many I think! My Grandfather was protective of my mother and me. Apparently my Grandfather was kind toward my father when we were not living with them, but this changed when he knew what my father was doing. Thank you Grandad! My mother went back to my father when I was 18 months old, but my father had impregnated someone else and he chose that family. I didn’t hear from or see him until I was 7.
I also found out I was called a ‘Princess’ by my paternal family.
That we did indeed come from a long line of revolutionists, with my “Great great great Grandad, on my granddad’s side, fighting for our lands with one of the greatest warriors of his era, Titokowaru”.
I also remember having what I thought was a dream in later years. It was of sitting on a seat of some kind and moving across a road. It was big with metal sides. The whole road was moving and there were cracks in the road. Years later I was telling my mother this and she told me that she had taken me on the first Hikoi, with Whena Cooper. That moving road was the Auckland Harbour Bridge and I was in a push chair. It swayed as we crossed over it. Apparently it had been shut down to traffic while we all crossed. Years later I took my own daughters to the second Hikoi, to parliament, in protest of the foreshore and seabed legislation. A few years afer that, I went with my youngest daughter to the last of these Hikoi’s which was wahangu…silent. It was a powerful time. What an amazing legacy in all that other shit ;)
I know we lived in my home town on and off, in and out, over these young years. We lived on the East coast for awhile too, before my mother left my father. And I think we ‘travelled’ around abit, sometimes I stayed with my Grandparents.
There was another man around at this time, my brothers ‘would be’ father at that stage. I don’t think I liked him much. I didn’t like how he made my mother feel.
At 3 years old, there are vivid memories of being frightened and having nightmares/terrors. I remember hiding in big boxes downstairs…playing. But I was frightened. I remember this because I remember the house we lived in at the time.
I also learnt hat my maternal Grandfathers Grandfather was Scottish and his father was French-Canadian.
My maternal Grandmothers parents came from a small west coast town and then moved to my Grandfathers place of birth in their later years. Both of them were English. My Great grandfather was from London, and my Great-grandmother was from south London. My Nan was treated unfairly her entire life; apparently she was supposed to be a boy…thank the heavens she wasn’t ay Nan ;)
My Uncle was super talented; a beautiful man as I remember, he was also tortured soul…he ended his life when I was 7. He was my first dead body. I thought he was going to wake up, but he didn’t, and he never came home. I loved him; I still do. I am glad that I knew him.
So I end this segment knowing that while our family was dysfunctional as such, it was also enormously resourceful, talented and abounding in love and sacrifice. It knew culture and diversity; it embraced grief and loss; it dealt with war and violence….and it survived, and became stronger. It left strong, solid and hopeful roots. I was loved and I was wanted. I am now forever grateful and forever in awe of the history that is mine.