People can’t help noticing my happiness. Friends say I seem stronger, more sure of myself, and also more calm, alive, funny. I’ve been on an invisible heroic journey over the past four years, with human storms, floods, and famines, and now I am safe, home. Stories to be told, in good time. In our culture, we tend to think that the youth are the ones who have adventures, those years crammed with change and growth. Working with elders, I’ve seen otherwise, and given the past two years of my life, I again deny that ageist myth.
So, my mother lives in town, very happy at her Assisted Living place. I have a repeating conversation with acquaintances, and am trying to learn my socially sanctioned lines. They approve of my new happiness. Then, they ask about my mother. When I say she is also happy, they are thrilled, assuming this increases my joy. But, here’s the thing: if she’s not happy, that’s her problem. I don’t care. This is the truth I try to bite back. This is what my mother has been saying to me, about my happiness, as long as I can remember.
I’ve been digging through old photos. I am posting two of them in this blog. My natural hair, forty years ago, and now. And the girl child, laughing, surely at my funny father. She is rare in my captured childhood images, but she’s alive now, loose in my soul, ready to take on the next thirty years.