Grandparents are supposed to spoil you… Fill your belly with candy and let you touch stuff in their house that your parents could never touch when they were growing up there. That’s what I think of when I think of grandparents but…. Unfortunately that was NOT my experience. Let me tell you what it was like to grow up with three sets of grandparents and a set of great grandparents because you’re an adopted child….
So, if you read my previous blog you know I had an unorthodox adoption and because of this “arrangement” I ended up with three sets of grandparents and an amazing set of great grandparents… In this blog I will share with you my experiences with my grands….. The Good, The Great and The UGLY.
My Godmother’s Parents (Pop Pop & Granny) – My godmother had a very interesting upbringing with her parents… Her story, of course, is not mine to tell… But, either way they were sweet to me. I never felt like an outsider with them. They bought me Christmas and Birthday parents just like their other biological grandkids. They came to events I had at school and supported me however they could. Sometimes in the summer I’d go over their house on days when I didn’t have summer camp and they’d pretty much let me do whatever I wanted. What kid doesn’t love to have free range?!
My Godfather’s Parents (Grandma & Pop) – My godfather’s parents were the grandparents that if you asked for a BOAT, they’d figure out a way to get you the boat! Lol… We had most of our family holiday dinners at their house. Their house was known as the fun house and while they had their own mess just like every other family, they treated me with love.
Then there were my Biological Great Grandparents (GG & Great-Grandaddy) – Now, NO ONE tops them. They basically had a second hand in raising me. I went to their house everyday while my godparents worked. When I got old enough to go to school, I caught the bus to school and back their house daily. They prayed over me. Taught me to ride a bike, how to use tools, mow the lawn, sew/embroider. You name it, they did it with me. They were the REAL MVPs. They loved me beyond my circumstances. Beyond my conception and any other dirty little secrets people may have whispered about me. They accepted me. With them I always felt cherished and special. I had a bond with them that couldn’t be broken.
And then there’s my biological grandparents…. Now you have to remember that it is claimed that my father is supposed to be my grandmother’s son and my mother is my grandfather’s daughter. So, you can already imagine how messy this was. From the time I was conceived until today, I have NO relationship with my father’s mother. As a child, all of the other grandparents that I wrote about, I spent weekends and holidays, etc. with but, not these grandparents…. You see my grandmother never wanted to accept responsibility for what my father did. Because admitting that her son created a whole life with his step sister was just TOO embarrassing for her. So, she kicked my mother out and made me spend the majority of my life paying for my parents’ transgressions.
For as long as I can remember, she’s been mean and spiteful to me. Initially, she would only display this negative behavior in private but, eventually it began to spill over in public. I believe this woman really hated me and still does. All because I was BORN. We all went to the same church, so every Sunday I would see her. I would try my best to avoid her but, we would always end up somewhere alone. Somewhere she could corner me and say something evil about how I was dressed, my hair or even try to pinch me for one reason or another. She broke me. She broke my spirit.
I vividly remember her basically treating me like I was a demon child, praying over me, putting oil on my head and spouting bible verses my during one of the few times I went to their house. It felt like she was more putting some kind of voodoo on me rather than actually praying for me… On another occasion, she had me to sleep in the bed with one of my cousins that she knew had issues with bedwetting. And, of course, I was chastised the next morning when I smelled like urine because this cousin wet the bed and apparently, I should’ve gotten her up in the middle of the night to make sure she went to the bathroom…. Mind you I was like 10.
I also remember the first summer I got my period. It was the summer between 5th and 6th grade so, I was about 11. Now, the first day of my first cycle, I remember my godmother taking the time to explain what I was experiencing and how I should take care of myself. I actually ended up going to spend the day with an older cousin who had just had a baby. This cousin spent the day doting on me and explaining this rites of passage of my first period. She was caring and considerate and made me feel like I was special. She let me nap and eat chocoloate and explained to me that having a cycle was a beautiful thing, especially because she had just had a baby so, she was able to articulate why being a woman and creating life was so special. Now, a month or two later, I went to stay with my Grandparents for a few days and because I was new to having a cycle, I didn’t think to pack sanitary items because hey, I was 11! And what 11 year old do you know that thinks that way?! So, what happens? I get to my grandparents house and my period starts… Oh Joy! Can I tell you that I was so afraid of her that I couldn’t bring myself to tell her about my period so, I literally ruined all of my underwear because I didn’t want to tell her! I was trying to wrap my little undies in toilet paper when I went to the bathroom but, of course that wasn’t enough. I guess I just figured that if I told her she wouldn’t celebrate my journey into womanhood but, yet find a way to crush my spirit again. When I returned home to my godparents and explained what happened they decided that I wouldn’t be spending the night over there ever again….
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering where was my grandfather during all of this…. He was well… In his own world. I guess that’s the best way to put it. He was always kind to me… He would try to do what he could for me when he was around but, his love wasn’t enough. It couldn’t overcome the hatred I felt from my grandmother, and unfortunately, my relationship with him is pretty much non-existent because of his wife.
So… what is the takeaway from today’s blog??? Children deserve to be loved, regardless of how they came into existence. While I know I was blessed because I had so many grandparents who tried to pour positivity into me I was also hurt and heartbroken by my biological grandparents… You know it’s sometimes it’s true that the people who are closest to you hurt you the most. But, Thank God for therapy, Honey! Because I’ve come a long way from the hurt little girl. Funny thing is I never really have talked to my grandmother about her mistreatment of me. I mean how could I? She still believes that her son is not my father so, in her mind she probably feels justified for her behavior…. And at the end of the day, that’ll be her cross to bear.
In the meantime, I’ll be loving on my babies and sharing them with those who I know will love them the way I wanted to be loved…. Parents, protect your children because sometimes family can act like foreigners….