"not one of us...."  

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

as i have posted before, my afamily was a wonderful brood. most of them accepted me and my personality oddities. for the most part they liked that i was so much different and my adoption was a source of gently teasing. not hurtful, just silly ribbing which i enjoyed very much. i have never been ashamed or hurt by being adopted. it just was the way it was. part of me as much as my curvy nose and quick sarcasim.

for the most part they were like that. except one. one awful, hurtful person that took great pleasure in drawing attention to my difference and belittling me into silent rage. her words cut into me and will forever live in my soul and i hate to admit this, but there were no tears of remorse at her funeral, only hidden smiles and warm feelings of glee.

all this hostility is focused at a person that, in normal social circles, is looked upon fondly. even the title brings to mind loving memories for most, but to me-i get a cold pit in my stomach. GRANDMA. my grandmother on my fathers side was an abomination of the human spirit. the root of what meager hatred i do hold in my heart.

i bring this up now, because, while talking with friends, the topic of grandparents came up. they all told of warm cookies, bear hugs, justified punishment and generally beautiful stories of unadulterated love they all had for their grandparents. and they love they got back from them.
but not for me. something else comes to the surface when i think of mine. something i have to swallow back down and keep in check-for fear of startling them with my raw nerves.

grandma was a mother to 8 children. 6 boys and 2 girls. my father was 4th oldest. they lived on a large farm and plowed the fields in between tending to the animals, that ranged from pigs, cows and chickens. it was a huge dairy farm where i chased stray cats, collected eggs and helped my uncle drag oats to the cows as they were being milked. it was such an interesting process, i remember standing under the lines as the milk flowed through into the collection bin to begin the homogenization process.
as much as i loved to be with my uncle and scratch the cows noses as they ate while being milked, i hated going there. because of her. she tarnished everything. and i wasnt the only one that saw it.

let me try to explain some background on this family. there were two things these people could do. 1. cook, OMG, could they cook. wonderous arrays of the most wonderful food. and the desserts-ugh, my mouth waters just thinking of the dessert table. 2. they could make babies. each of the 8 children married. every one of them had at least 2 children, up to 5. now you take this and times that by all of them being married with children-it was one massive gathering. i was the 4th from the youngest cousin. my sister was right in the middle of the majority. (most of my first cousins are in the 40ish ot 50ish age group)

all of them had babies at will. except for my mom. she was able to get pregnant but carrying full term was usually a failure. after several devastaing miscarriages she was able to have one daughter. cynthia. unfortunately her preemie little body and the lack of medical technology back then, lead to her death at 3 days old.
i have been told when the funeral was over and the family gathered after to eat and rally support to my parents, grandma couldnt be bothered. supposedly she was too busy to lend a hand of condolence to my grieving parents. her and grandpa left early. (he was a puppet to her orders. poor man had to be to survive)

when my mom became pregnant with my sister, it was a miracle. she carried full term and my sister was a weak child, but a survivor.
but mom still had a hole in her heart. the loss of cynthia was a crushing blow to her. the doctors said she could never be pregnant again. the devastation her body had endured over they years was simply too much.

when mom and dad told grandma that they were going to adopt, i have been told, she replied "if you bring that bastard baby into this family i will have nothing to do with it" dad told her-so be it, and proceded with the adoption.
mom was never good enough for dad, she couldnt bear children, so she was inferior. worthless. absolutely nothing. grandma took great delight to make sure mom understood this. just for her own entertainment.
so when i made my appearance on the sceen she vowed to make me as unwelcome as humanly possible. she was a great success. every picture of her with me was an awful display of disgust. she hated being near me, and it showed. easter was always a big 'basket' hunt. it was actually styrofoam plates filled with candy and goodies wrapped in saran. each was named for the grandkids and hidden. mine was religiously under the hutch against the wall, where my little child arms could not reach. or on top of the towering piece of furniture. even my over 6 foot cousins struggled to see it.

i remember pulling into her driveway every other sunday and watching her half crippled body run past the pictue window to the living room. where she promptly unplugged the radio, tv and vcr. telling me they were broke-go away outside. she would lock the toy room, stating someone else had done it and the key was lost. grandpa would just seethe at her. fuming in his silent disapproval. there was a few times i remember he really let her have it. he laid into her like a sledgehammer. "there is no reason that girl cant watch tv or play with toys."
dinner was always a treat too. when we came it was always the black and white package of hot dogs, boiled, cheese chunks that she didnt properly wrap so it was hard and beans.

i later found out she cooked full meals for the others. fried chicken, steaks, homemade cookies, the whole nine.

so as i grew her insults and venom did too. she didnt make a single effort to hide her loathing of me. she would say "you can tell you arent 'one of us' because....." and continue with some obscure point of how i was different. my hair was too light, i didnt like pie, i talked too fast, i creaated stories out of thin air and acted them out. whatever she could latch onto at the time.
to which, in my later teen years i replied "THANK GOD FOR SMALL FAVORS!" i would rather pluck every single hair out of my head than share a gene pool with that woman.

>>sigh<< amazing how narrow minded some are. she hated me because i was adopted. because i wasnt "one of them". of all the things i have done in my life, her rage toward me came from something i had no control over. and something i viewed as a positive in my life.

maybe i should thank her. thank her for showing me the evil of humans, for giving me thicker skin. for instilling in me that i was perfectly content with being the outsider of the gene pool. maybe........NAH! aint gonna happen. i will never give her the satisfaction. alive or dead. i will use my meanspirited anger toward her to remind myself what kind of person i NEVER want to be.

"hi, my name is rachael, i am adopted. there is nothing wrong with me. my bmothers problems in her life at the time of my birth are not and never will be my problems. i am not defective. i am loved and respected by the people that mean the most to me. i adore all 4 of my parents, my siblings-genetic or not, and the friends i have aquired in my time on earth. im rachael-a fighter and a survivor. a sister and a daughter. a wife and a mother. a loved grand-daughter to others and a friend to many."

take that grandma-you didnt break me after all. (((ppplllllllltttttt)))

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