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.'