This past week was a good one – all things considered – with the news of a surgery date making it even better. What made it good to start? Last Tuesday, I went to stay at the home of my adoptive Aunt C. It’s the first time since I was about twelve that I’ve spent any extended time with her, but it felt like no time had elapsed. It’s not that I haven’t seen her at the odd holiday dinner or picnic over the years where I’ve received tight, warm hugs overflowing with affection that showed how genuinely she cares for me, but being in her house and having her spoil me for a few days was nice.
When I was a little girl, I used to spend weekends at Aunt C’s house. Sometimes the excitement of the weekend started early. I would get to take the subway by myself to meet her when she finished work, at a designated place, in the central train station downtown. Then we would take the train out to her house in a suburb outside the city. At her house, it would just be the two of us. She would make me my favourite meals and desserts I loved. Aunt C would take me to movies; we would go shopping; or we would just hang out around the house. On top of that, she would treat me to little presents that would light me up with happiness. My time with her was always so happy – and because I believed she was perfect – I once asked her to adopt me.
I felt some of that happiness this past week, as she showered me with attention, care, and concern for my poor health. There was also a lot of laughter. So much laughter, that at times my pain increased, but I didn’t mind because it was good to laugh with her. We spent some time talking in detail about things that have happened in both our lives that it wasn’t always possible to talk about with crowds of people around at family events. At one point, I questioned myself about why I never made more of an effort to keep Aunt C close in my life, but I know the answer is my mother and the ever-present fear I had about betraying or hurting her. In some ways, it was a get to know you again week, and in others, we just picked up from where we left off years ago.
It won’t be too long until my next visit with Aunt C. Apart from wanting to keep our renewed connection strong; she offered to take care of me after my surgery. I already have plans in place for my immediate aftercare, but I’m grateful for her offer and I will go to stay with her at some point during my recovery. I’m also grateful for the chance to reclaim and rebuild a relationship that was important in shaping my understanding of motherly love. Although, most of all, I’m grateful I’m in a place, emotionally, where I can accept the love she offers to me.
Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance