Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Trini Tuesday-Mom's Birthday

Today is my mom's birthday so I thought I'd share a little bit about her thoughts on our life in Trindad. She was less than thrilled. She had some good reasons to be unhappy about it. I was taking her precious and, at the time only, grandchild to some place she'd barely heard of and would have been hard pressed to locate on the map. Diana was not yet 2 years old and Mom was quite sure she'd completely forget who Grammy was. I'd proven during college that I was pretty lousy at phonecalls and letters, no email back in those dark ages. It also didn't help that my entire extended family except one uncle and one cousin live within 7 miles of each other. I already lived 90 miles away, now I was leaving the country?? Both my paternal grandparents, with whom my mother was very close, and my mother's best friend had died the previous year as well. Loss heaped upon loss and now I am leaving the country. I'm not a dolt, I can grasp that this was all just too much for her. I found out I was pregnant as soon after we hit Trini soil and when I told her, even though she had that pseudo-psychic thing going on and already knew, she accused me of purposely concealing the fact until I was far away.

Now, let's back up many years. I come from a family of storytellers. There's a strong oral tradition in my family so I grew up regularly bathed in the clan lore. Even though a couple of family members either died before my birth or when I was much too young to recall them, the lore gives me a strong sense of who they were and the family photo albums I always cherished made them recognizable.

When I packed for Trinidad we had a bunch of suitcases and the rest was shipped in crates and barrels. I made sure I had a few pictures of each family member in my suitcase though so we'd need not wait for the shipping companies. Once our things arrived my photo albums came out first and Diana poured over them. During our time there it was a regular activity to pull out the albums and give her all the stories that went with them and point out the faces. She LOVED books more than anything else so it was very natural.

We also made phone calls as often as finances permitted. Diana was barely speaking before we had arrived but had a language explosion while there. My mother was thrilled to hear her but also annoyed when she heard the blossoming Trini accent. 'That child does NOT sound like an American.'

My belly grew and we sent pictures of Diana, our house, my growing belly, and the maternity clothes I'd sewn. Mom is an accomplished seamstress and she got a kick out of seeing me finally do some sewing since I'd mostly avoided it while stateside.

Finally, Calypso was born. She was due very close to Mom's birthday (Mom rooted heavily for the baby to be born on her birthday) but wound up being quite overdue. Now where Diana is a redhead and the spitting image of her dad, Calypso is, as they say in Trinidad, my rubber stamp. The first time I held her once she was all cleaned up and happy I thought she looked exactly like my first baby photo. I told Mom who seemed a bit skeptical.

When Calypso was about 8 weeks old we headed back to the US for a brief visit. As we came off the flight Diana spotted my mom and my grandmother through the crowd and took off running to them shouting, 'Grammyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!' My husband and I finally reached them and I put Calypso in Mom's arms. Mom gasped and said, 'Diana knows me and Calypso looks exactly like you did!' I just grinned at her while the baby gurgled and Diana clung to Grammy's knees. Then I said, 'Happy belated birthday.'

24 comments:

Jodes said...

I know what you mean, My Mom was not thrilled with us moving away either.

barefoot_mistress said...

Imagine my poor mom, growing up on a pig farm in Canada, she marries an American and her parents are happy to see her "off the farm".
Where does my dad get stationed promptly after their wedding?

Eritrea! Oh, poor mom! And, her parents thought for sure she'd be eaten by cannibals or lions in the first week!

snavy said...

You have to stop making me cry. That was so sweet the way you greeted your mom.

I moved 50 miles away from my family - we all hate it.

Logophile said...

Awww, hon,you got me with this one.
Oh how I feel this one.
Thing Two was barely 2 when we ran away to europe and we STILL haven't heard the end of it.

Happy Birthday mom of lime!

AlRo said...

Happy Bday Lime's Mom ..

Was a nice story too...

lime said...

jodes, yes i can imagine, guam is even further.

suse, lol, yes i can picture the scene!

snavy, sorry for the sniffles hun.

logo, it took several years for us to hear rhe end of it.

alro, thanks!

ttfootball said...

I can see how the whole Trinidad experience holds so much for you. How's Diana's accent now? hehe
Happy Birthday to your Mom.

Robert van de Walle said...

Such a sweet story. Good for you, practicing the family tradition to make sure "Grammy" was alive in Diana's heart.

You are wonderful.

PS how are the bones?

MyUtopia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Goodman said...

Happy birthday to your mom!

MyUtopia said...

Awe! That is sweet. It is my Dad's Birthday today too! I did a similar post of him. http://myutopias.blogspot.com/

lime said...

tt, we came back to the state's so many years ago diana has long since lost her accent. but she gets a giggle watching old videos from back then and hearing herself.

bob, thanks so much. the bones are healing. i'm supposed to start therapy soon. thanks for asking.

james, thanks!

lime said...

myutopia, glad you enjoyed! going to read yours now...

Seamus said...

What a sweet and poignant post - thanks for sharing! :)

Moosekahl said...

I took off for college 12 hours from home and though she will deny it to this day, mom was crying when I drove out of the driveway! Now she's nearing the end of her life due to cancer and those memories are all worth it. Thanks for sharing yours.

steve said...

Lime I love these stories you tell on Tuesday's!!

I know just what you mean when we moved to Dallas and away from ALL my wifes relatives from there view point I was the devil himself.

Hey I had to make a living:-}

Happy bday to your mom!

Fred said...

Happy Birthday, Mom!

lime said...

seamus, glad you enjoyed it

moose, i'm so sorry for your mom's situation. i'm glad you have good memories. i hpe the two of you can enjoy sharing them in the time that is left.

steve, oh man...i feel your pain!

fred, thanks

Phain said...

We moved from FL to LA about 6 weeks after I found out I was pregnant with the girl. My parents were NOT happy about it - although it was still just a day's drive away. You do the best you can with letters, tons of photographs, phone calls...but when they recognize family and go running towards them - that's you're payoff. Happy B'day to Lime's Momma!

lecram sinun said...

You do indeed come from a family of storytellers. This was an especially wonderful one! :)

airplanejayne said...

Happy Day to your Mom -- and she should be happy/proud that the storytelling continues!!!

and thanks for the support on my letter "Q" post!

The Zombieslayer said...

Sweet story. Cool about your family being into storytelling/clan lore. My older brother has been working on our family trees and it's always neat to learn some family stuff, but we're not even going back 150 years, which is sad. I've run into people who could go back way longer than that.

I've never heard a Trini accent. Love to hear how it sounds.

BTExpress said...

You are a great story teller just like the tradition calls for. Now the burden falls on you to teach your kids how to tell stories. Hey, wish mom happy birthday for me.

Hope your arm is well enough to do you know what with both hands now. ;-)

Blueprincesa said...

Aaaaaaaw! That's a really cute story.