Introductions and Travels
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my mother is from the West Indies; specifically, she is from St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Because of this by the time my mom had my sister and I she was only a resident alien of the United States and she was working on her papers. My sister and I had our first passports at a very young age because my mom wanted us to know our heritage and where she grew up. Her culture is so rich as it is a compilation of the many different cultures that have moved through the West Indies. From the various native Indians like the Caribs and Arawak to the take overs by the Brits. It is a cultural melting pot of great food and tradition. Then there is the inherit beauty of the island, beautiful beaches and landscapes. As soon as she could muster up enough money she took us on a trip to St. Vincent, partly to see the island but mostly to meet our eldest brother whom she had to leave behind to make a better life for.
My sister and I knew that things weren't the same as soon as we had to transfer in Barbados (another West Indian Island), the transfer was for another plane. This second plan was tiny and it felt like we were being tossed in the wind. After about 40 minutes we land, the plane door opens and the stairs are let down. The fifty or so people make our way down the stairs and immediately you could feel the warm, breezy island air, it was beautiful. We walk to the small building that is their airport, which looked like it could fit in JFK over 5 times, and we retrieve our bags; outside our cousin waited for us; this was my first international trip and the year was 1989.
My sister and I want back some summers and those days we will never forget. But one summer was different; in the summer of 1994 my mom decided to take us to Trinidad & Tobago. My mom is my HERO for so many reasons, but the biggest is her heart.
This trip was different mostly because my sister and I we were going to meet my grandmother, aunts and uncles for the first time. However, it wasn't just our first time, it was my mother's as well. My mom was raised by her grandparents (her father's parents) and she never knew her mother. Her life was difficult because as she was going into her teens her grandparents were too old to guide her, she had to take care of them. We all remember how hard growing up, how confusing and crazy we were; think and remember those days. Then she became a teenage mother, my brother was born to her on Christmas day, she didn't even know she was going into labor.
So we land and we are picked up by my aunt and her husband and just like our first visit to St. Vincent, Trinidad has a small airport. My aunt was a pleasant woman, she and my mom along with another uncle had been in communication for the planning of this trip. She greeted us with the Trinidadian accent (good day) and gave us all great big hugs; remembering that day brings a smile to my face and fills my heart with joy.
My Grandmother was unaware that the daughter that she had abandoned so many years ago was planning to visit her. So we arrive to the city she lived in, (Diego Martin) at the bottom of a hill; we had to hike the rest of the way up. My sister commented mid-way up grandma lives next door to Jesus, (always the comedian) and we all crack up laughing. We make it all the way up and this woman with glasses and a resemblance to mom comes out....Oh my God!! were the only words she could bring herself to say as she grabs us and gives us (my sister and I hugs), then my mom stepped up and they just looked at each other before anything was said and then they hugged and it was like they knew each other.
I can't imagine what it must have felt like to my mom, at no time while we were growing up did my mom display any resentment towards her mother or speak bad about her. All she ever told us was that she really never knew her and that she was raised by her grandparents and how she was the apple of their eye. Was mom perfect? No, but in this mommy taught me a lesson; She taught me a lesson in forgiveness and making lemonade out of our life's lemons.
My grandmother explained to her why things went the way they did but mom really didn't need that from her. From the time my mom got to meet her own mother she served her as a faithful daughter until the time of her passing was February of 2011. And when she closed her eyes she could say that she was able to know and show love to all of her children and children's children. In many ways my "granny" spoiled my sister and I because she felt the need to make up for her mistakes but there was no need for it. Mommy was content to have known her and be able to love her and serve her.
So followers don't waist your time on holding grudges, being bitter or angry. We don't always know why things happen the way they do, but what I do know is that once there is life there is hope.