Orphan, 2.0

So RR is putting together the pieces of our family puzzle.  These folks are cousins.  These folks are her mamas’ sisters.  Granny and Pop Pop are mama’s mom and dad.

The other day, she said to me in a big revelation, “Granny is mama’s MAMA!”  I said, “Yes, she sure is!”

Then she paused and said, “Granny is not your mama.  Who is your mama, mama?”

SIGH.  Big fucking sigh.

As if that wasn’t awkward enough, she followed up with, “Is Pop Pop your daddy?”  I said, “No, he’s not.”  Which she then retorted, “Well, we’ll call your daddy Pop Pop!”  I said, “If he were around, he’d probably like that.”

And then she tootled off without anymore questions, and that was that.

The last time my sister visited, she dropped off a bunch of old pictures for me to sift through, including a lot of pictures of my parents (oddly enough, none of them both together… but whatever).  I suppose it might be a good idea to pick a few out of my parents and put them somewhere where RR can see them.  I have a few of my mom with RR, which is great.  But, the most recent picture of my dad is circa 1989.  I think the only family picture I have of us is this old, tattered (but scanned) one below.  I’m what… two?  I can probably dig up something more recent of him.

family001

I don’t think this requires any big prayer meetin’ (as my mom would call it) for explanation’s sake, but having them around would certainly make me feel a little less like an orphan some days, and would make other days where these questions come up, a little easier to answer.

Explaining to her that I totally have parents is one thing.  Explaining where they’ve gone off to is another.

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Posted on July 25, 2013, in da family. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I have been estranged from my birth family for nearly ten years. I think we will go with “I have a mommy and a daddy, but they are not very nice people.” and leave it at that. I still hope she just never asks.

  2. Oof. A friend with a daughter a little younger than our Bean, whose own mother has died, is dealing with this right now. Mutual friends with dead (and missing) parents reassured her that her daughter will not immediately connect the idea of her mother dying with the possibility that she could die, and suggested a matter-of-fact approach. But even dealing with Bean’s questions about the whereabouts of my grandparents made me weepy, and all I said was that they weren’t here right now.

    Death sure is shitty.

    • Death is totally shitty.

      Besides my sister (and her kids), everyone in my family (parents, all grandparents) have passed away, with most of them being long gone. I got the death and dying lesson pretty early on, and wasn’t particularly scarred, no matter what my therapist would tell you. 🙂

  3. That must be very hard for you! I can’t imagine it. I’m so sorry 😦

  4. It’s a hard concept for kids to understand. I’ve had to explain a grandfather who passed away years before my daughter was born as well as a grandmother, aunts, uncles & cousins who are alive but we don’t speak to. As the reason of ‘because they aren’t nice’ stopped cutting it, my better half sat down and gave her talk that I wasn’t quite ready to give myself about the ways in which they weren’t nice. We see my in-laws rather infrequently, so she really doesn’t have much of a real extended family relationship to speak of. She does however, have some terrific relationships with our friends that we consider extended family, so she’s learned that blood is not the only tie that bind.

  5. My mother’s father died a number of years before I was born, and I don’t remember ever *not* being aware of that fact. I still didn’t really connect that to the notion that everyone dies sooner or later until I was probably around 8. I mean, I knew it as a general concept before that, but I think that was around the age at which I really started to wrap my brain around the notion that “everyone” included, you know, people I knew and cared about. I think what I’m getting at is that you probably don’t have to go into long discussions of metaphysics at this particular juncture.

    I do think the pictures might be nice, though. We’re currently working on putting up more pictures around the house of various relatives we don’t see in person all that much. (Which is basically all of them, although we talk on the computer to my family pretty frequently.) Also, a few pictures of Mommy and Mama *before* the advent of Critter. Just because we like to blow his mind a little.

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