Dynamics of a Family
"Drive carefully, be safe, and keep in contact with everyone on your drive home."
Those were the words that were spoken over the phone to me by my stepfather, Laymon, the day heavy rains hit metro Atlanta and caused historic flooding.
His words brought both comfort and tears. Why the tears you may ask? The tears came because I wasn't expecting anyone, besides my husband, to call concerned about my safety and well being. I know that's a drastic statement, but it's true. To understand that statement, you have to understand my family. The family dynamics.
Most of my family members, a very small group, do not freely express emotion; it comes hard for them. They show the world a tough exterior, whereby the interior is soft and cuddly. I realize I am very loved but I know this from actions, not words. Actions do speaker louder than words but sometimes. . . words are nice, too.
If my mom were alive that phone call would have been expected because she was always concerned about my safety, with me working in downtown Atlanta, and simply by me being a black woman in this crazy world of ours. My mom was a scary cat in some ways; she wouldn't take a shower unless someone was in the house with her. Many times I had to delay going home in order for her to take one. Yet, on the other hand, she'd stand up with a powerful and strong voice for anything she believed in and felt passionately about.
I've spoken in other blogs about the death of family members over the last few years. All the pillars of my family are gone and sometimes I wonder if things will ever be the same again. Then I realize I can't live in the past; we have to create new beginnings. Of course, I have my immediate family and cousins that I see on a non consistent basis. However, no one has risen to the position as the matriach and that is sadly missing.
Life has changed since I lost the "wise" ones whose words and comments kept me rooted, comforted and ground in family and tradition. I still remember how happy I'd be when my Uncle Robert would say: "You looking pretty today, gurl." "I miss you, when you gonna move back to Georgia where you belong. Ain't nothing like family." Or my Aunt Doll saying, "Come here and give me a hug. How you been doing? Still ain't no bigger than a pea. You need to come by and visit me more often. "I cooked some collards, chicken, corn bread and potato pie. Fix you a plate to take with you. Foils on the counter." "Or my Aunt Cat saying: "I saw you in the paper again, keep up the good work."
Mostly I miss my mom saying: "I'm proud of you." Or her bragging to her friends about me. Now. . . achievements come and I move on to the next goal without much fanfare because I don't expect to receive it.
Eventually, just a lingering emptiness remains, unspoken.
I'm so happy and rejoice in the fact that I'm raising a son and daughter who are not afraid to say, "I love you," or bestow hugs and kisses, even when their friends are around. That makes my day and places a big smile on my face.