Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I am from ... (thanks for this Jax)

I am from children around my feet from early till late. I am from computer screens and school books and an addiction to websites! I am from a happy marriage and a strong faith.

I am from galaxy chocolate and strawberry smoothies!

I am from the grey slabbed council house on a busy main road of an equally grey estate of houses that all look the same. I am from playing in the street with kids I didn’t really like and who didn’t like me and with ones that I adored and worshipped in the same breath. I am from owning my own key at the age 7 and using it to shelter myself and my best friend whilst our mums worked in dead end jobs on production lines and checkouts for pittance pay and little self-worth. I am from birthday gifts that took years to be given and when they came were never quite what I pictured because they were not what Mum really wanted for me. I am from stripping and painting my own bedroom walls when I was only 9 because I couldn’t bare the grubby, tatty paper any longer than the 4 years I already had and only then Mum deciding she would buy me the beautiful embossed pink paper I wanted, with birds and swans - and my Grandad decorating it for me! I am from staring out of my bedroom windows on a grey rainy day, as a lonely teenager of 16 or so, listening to Alison Moyer sing ‘I have a horror of this place, but I’m accustomed to it’s face and I am safe within it’s maze” on my stereo and relating so wholly to those words. Hating the only place I had ever really known in my living memory. I am from longing for the day I could set myself free!

I am from driving to my Nan & Grandad’s for Christmas in my Grandad’s car, with presents & luggage stacked all around me – born our of my mother’s inability to minimalise! I am from snuggling into my Nana’s bed in the early hours of Christmas morning to open my presents. I am from watered down Blue Nunn – just at Christmas, just for me! I remember the smell of my Grandad’s shoes in the vegetable cupboard! I am from laughter and celebration of New Year meals at the Bernie Inn in Windsor, indoor fireworks and “Auld Lang Synne” with my tipsy Mum and Aunt and Nan.

I am from gaining weight in middle twenty’s and then struggling to loose it thereon after! I am from nail biting, hair twiddling, finger picking nervous habits. Not of all of which I have, but which I fight hard not to have!

I am from a mother who never really knew she was loved by her father and whose mother over-mothered, such that mum never really grew. From a women who gave up her future for the boy she fell in love with, but who she thought could change to be her perfect man. From a marriage doomed for failure from the day that it began. Yet from a women who was strong enough to never tell the bad until I was old enough to hear it and who always encouraged me to maintain relationship with my Dad despite the pain it must have caused her. From a women who counted every penny to make sure there was food in the house and who sacrificed her very soul to that end. She bore the daily grind of jobs that sucked her dry and sought solace in her friends, but they kept her from me. I am from a women struggling with depression and a life of little worth, trying to raise me – her little girl – the best she knew how. I am from going to bed in tears almost every single night and of vowing to ‘make her cry, because she never does’ whilst she cried in silence too. I am from always being the one to do the running, and build the bridges in the morning – even when I knew I was not the one to blame, for I couldn’t stand the tension and the hatred to remain. I am from rules that never made sense and freedoms that made even less! I am from a mother who is trying so hard to make amends for things that were perhaps never really her fault in the first place, but happened more through circumstances and ignorance. I am from a mother who loves me with every ounce of her being, but with her my scars run deeper than even I realised till not so long ago. I am from a relationship of misunderstanding and of repeatedly hurting without meaning to. I am from a future where this is going to be different!

I am from a father who left for another when I was only 5 and I barely remembered his face. I am from a letter that I read when I needed to cry that he’d written when he’d emigrated just over a week, telling me how much he missed me and how he loved his little girl. I am from longing to hear from him week after week and willing the birthday present to arrive, though it seldom did. I am from wishing he would come and whisk me away to a better life. I am from wishing he would come home and yet not really knowing what I wished for. I am from rows I cannot remember and fights I do not recall. I am from an unfaithful father who I know in my adult years and who I recognise so much of myself in. I am from a man who cannot resist to pull things apart only to reassemble them to find out how they work. I am from a man with a quick temper and a need to forget and pick up like nothing has happened. I am from a coach driver whose has spent his life travelling the roads of this and other countries. I am from an ambition of my own to be a truck driver and be alone on the road and to travel. Maybe one day the last bit might come through.

I am from anger and quick temper in a father I hardly know and from struggling self esteem in a mother I am only now beginning to understand.

I am from a grandmother who just loved me so much as a child, who I always wanted to run away to and whose love was so unconditional. I am from a grandmother who with my adult eyes I can see as needing of the need she manipulates others into having of her. I am from criticism of my grumpy, sad grandfather who loved my Nana with all his heart, but who was grossly misunderstood and had given up trying to be, many years before I was ever born. I am from him; my grandad who sat in his chair every day watching horse racing on the box, ate fried breakfast every morning and smoke countless roll-up cigarettes, who worked nights all his life and slept all day so that even as a small child I learnt to be very quite in the house, who bathed only on a Friday before he went to play cards down the pub with his friends and who ignored the fact that everyone told him he smelt bad the rest of the week! I am from that man, who like the rest of his family, had little self worth and saw no reason to change anything. I am from listening to my family complaining about my grandad complaining! And yet I am from that man, who year after year would come dressed in a Santa suit and sit me on his knee on Christmas day, though I never twigged it was him. He would talk to me kindly and share a smile and gifts with me. He never was unkind to me that I remember – harsh at times, but not usually unfair. I remember that he loved me in the only way I think he could. He was the one who bought that Blue Nun at Christmas and he was my Santa, who kept the fairy tale alive in me long after my friends had stopped believing. I am from my grandfather who died very suddenly as he returned from getting his morning paper one day and collapsed on his kitchen floor having had a massive heart attack. I am from my Nana who is lost without him.

And I am from my great grandmother – my Grandma – who died when I was just 7 and for who I grieved deeply, despite hardly really knowing her. I am from her warm smile and her loving arms – those I do remember. And I am from her prayers! My Grandma was the only Christian in our family for generations and she prayed for me. I am from the pictures she would draw me and the bible stories she would send me. I am from waking up one Sunday morning, not long before she died, and deciding I would go to church. I’d never been before and I’ve never stopped (for very long) since.

I am from “could do better if she tried” and from “very clever, but lacks common sense”. I am from “always thoughtful of others” and from my English teacher’s comment on my senior report card (aged 16) “my A1 ideological student!” I am from the black and the white and the no shades of grey!

I am from superlification!

I'm from the south and the north. I am from bubble’n’squeak and from toad in the hole!

I am from a holiday in Spain with my Mum and Nana and Aunty. From Spanish tummy, pina-colada ice-creams and charming waiters. From my Aunty falling into the rear foot-well of the hired car in a blackout, shouting “I’m in the back” as we tried to work out where she had disappeared to! I am from another holiday in a farm house as a child, listening to the chicken being wrung for our lunch, stepping in cow pats in the dark and “can I borrow y’ur hairdry’r doock” and from walking across a stream on the Scottish border at Coldstream with my family, the same year some horrible murder had happened in that place.

I am from a strong relationship with my loving heavenly Father and that deeply held faith that has held me from despair at many points in my life. I am from a love that lifts me higher than the heights, such that I sour over the mountain tops in my life. I am from the constancy of the ever present arms of my God.

I am from the discovery of mountains when I climbed in my teens and of the exertion of the climb and the kick of reaching the top. Of hearing sheep bleating on the open hillside and swimming in icy cold lakes on scorching summer days, until my skin turned blue! And then of changing under towels hoping the boys couldn’t see!

I am from falling in love with a boy in my teens and nearly losing him to a different life. I am from fighting to keep him and from letting him go in fear he would never return. I am from walks in the rain to secret weekends in London, from rowing & snogging on rivers, to a meal in a quirky Italian restaurant, with a even quirkier waiter, 8 years since we were last away alone together. I am from knowing our love is secure after almost 11 years married and six beautiful treasures to share our lives with.

I am from being a trained nurse – and loathing the job. I am from being a midwife and loving the job. I am from the joy of lovingly placing a mother’s new child into her arms and seeing the elation that comes only in that moment.

I am from the birthing of my own six children, here, in my own home.

I am from waking up each morning to the challenge of raising my children to know the God I love. I am from waking each morning to the giggles of my girls and chatter of my baby in his cot, to my not-so-little boy all dressed in his smart school uniform, looking almost like a man now in miniature form and wishing that the years would slow down – just a bit! I am from the joy of watching my children take their first tentative steps, to seeing them walking and talking, reading and writing, and learning to be who they are destined to be. I am from being a Mum.

I am from the smell of lilies and the beauty of a yellow rose. I am from my wedding bouquet and the future it represents!

I am from a history I am not going to repeat. I am from a family that loves me without a shadow of a doubt, but for whom I sadly hold little respect. I am from a family over shadowed with unhappiness and low self-worth. I am from determination to cast a different mould.

I am from there and from here. Here is where I am from. It’s another story, a windy path unfolds, with the future held secret in its twists and turns. I am from my husband - the loving partnership of marriage that keeps me safe and bravely held to venture on. I am from my marriage and its ministry, as a pastor’s wife and mother, that shapes me and moulds me, and allows me to see with forgiveness the road that I am from.

I am from here; (photos to follow when I’ve racked them out of the loft!)

where to find the instructions
You might like to see here too. (the brewcrew blog)

4 comments:

4 girls and 3 boys said...

Wow! mazing. Lovely and very touching. I cried.

Jax said...

That's great Caroline - I'm glad you've done this.

Katy said...

thank you.

~*~ Linda ~*~ said...

Wow, that brought tears to my eyes.