Childhood Memories

One of my favorite things is driving around with the windows down, music on loud, and singing my heart out. Thanks to having the summer mostly off I have discovered that my daughter enjoys that same ritual. She even made a playlist so all the songs would be in one place. No more searching. As we were coming home from practice last night, indulging in what could be one of the last warm nights of the year I wondered to myself if she was going to remember our sing-alongs.

When I was young (I know, I know. I have a bend towards nostalgia) summers were mostly spent with either my aunt and her family or with my grandmother. When I was with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins, we usually were camping or visiting some of their friends somewhere. Or just causing trouble in the backyard, which included at least one trip to the ER).  It was pretty standard summer vacation fun. With my grandmother though it was different. 

My Grandmother (Nannie is what I actually call her) lived with me and mom on and off through most of my childhood.  Then my mom didn't have to worry about me or the house. And I know now that my Nannie needed me as much as I needed her. When Nannie was around it didn't matter if I had school or not. If she felt like having an adventure, we were going. I am not convinced she always had a destination in mind when she packed me up into her car. It was usually very early in the morning when we left. I remember being in the car wrapped up in a warm blanket and being woken up just as we reached where ever we were headed. 

Coupled with this great sense of adventure and fun though came the other times. My Nannie also was a major bingo player. She had favorite halls on favorite days. Callers she hated and number combinations on the smaller ticket that she would avoid, or have the volunteer selling them to her seek out. There were never trolls, but there were specific daubers and certain ways the cards were to be set up. 

Then the other times. Usually, she would just move out without much notice. Or disappear for a few days. It was just a part of her that I never questioned because that was just how she was. 

As an "adult" though with kids of my own; I came to realize that maybe there was more going on there than just Nannie being Nannie. Then it got really bad. She was no longer able to hide the paranoia or the anger. And something that had only been whispered in the family became a truth that could no longer be swept under the rug. There was something wrong. I am not going to go through the whole story yet. I don't think I am ready to go over that enough in my head to commit it to the world. 

After a lot of effort by some of my family members, we were able to get her into a place where she can access the care that she needs. She has been sick for a very long time. It is only recently that we talk about these things. In the past, mental health issues were unspoken secrets and allowed to fester. I can't wonder about how her life or my life would be different if she had gotten help earlier. I can only be grateful that at least the end part of her life she doesn't feel like she has to run. And I know she's safe. Even if she doesn't always remember me, I know that she still loves me as much as I love her.

A picture from one of our road trips. Three Valley Gap. I am guessing in '90 or '91


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