TITLE: Family Reunion
By Yolanda Payne
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Reunions can be painful. People who rear children who are not their own should tell them. This would avoid the confusion that often arises when a parent decides to claim their child. Ann grew up in a small community in northern Louisiana. There was nothing to do in the community. People often purchased their groceries in an adjoining community Ann was somewhat shy and did not talk a lot. She enjoyed lying outside on a cot under a tree. It was pure enjoyment just to look into the sky.
Because her grand parents were older and farmed, Ann enjoyed helping them. She could not do much, but she did what she was asked to do. Her cousins lived nearby and they often played. A trail was made between the two homes. Ann referred to her grandmother as momma because she believed her grandmother was her mother and her grandfather was her father. Their home was a happy home and she was secure. That changed when she was four.
One morning she went into her grandparent’s bedroom and saw a strange woman lying on their bed. Filled with curiosity, Ann wanted to know about the lady who laid on her grandparent‘s bed. .Ann went into the kitchen and approached her grandmother.
“Mama, who is that woman lying on your bed”? Ann asked.
When her grandmother did not immediately answer, Ann repeated the question, “Mama who is that woman lying on your bed”?
Her grandmother paused and responded, “That’s my daughter. I want you to meet her. Let’s eat breakfast together.” Breakfast that morning was somewhat awkward. Ann knew something was bothering her grandmother. Her grandfather sat quietly. The strange woman smiled as she entered the kitchen. .
“So this is Ann. When I last saw her she was a baby” the lady.” remarked.
Ann attempted to eat, but she lost her appetite. Something was wrong and it involved her. She didn’t like that woman. She made Ann feel nervous. The strange lady upset her grandmother. She wished the strange woman would go away. Something was wrong. The strange lady said “Ann I am your mother”.
“That’s impossible. "Momma is my mother” Ann insisted. Her grandmother merely sat quietly. Ann refused to think about what she heard because she was confused and angry with the woman. “Could this be true”? Ann humored. .
“Ann I must tell you something. “Her grandmother pleaded. My daughter is your mother and you are my granddaughter.” Her grandmother whispered.
“Let, me in on this” Ann’s mother said. “You have already done enough harm. My presence is a shock to her. It wouldn’t be so difficult if you had done what I asked you to do” Ann’s mother asserted.
“She doesn’t know you “her grandmother told the strange lady.” I hope you will give her sometime to know you before shocking her”.
“Let’s not argue. Be patient and let me take care of this situation. You waited three year and you can wait a few minutes more. Right now Ann told is my concern” Ann’s grandmother told Ann’s mother.
“Ann, come here” her mother said. “I have something to tell you.” After seeking her grandmother’s approval Ann slowing moved toward her mother.
While pointing toward the strange woman, Ann’s grandmother “that lady is my daughter and she is your mother. Her name is Betty. Ann I am not your mother. I am your grandmother. Although my daughter is your mother you are my child.”
“Ann, I know that you don’t know me, but I want us to get to know each other. “ Betty told Ann.
Ann was dumbfounded. She didn’t know what to say. Was this a joke? This woman and her assertions upset the balance of her world. Her world would never be the same.
During the next few days things were strained between Ann and her mother. Her grandmother was no longer momma. Ann was hurt and confused. She felt as though she had no one. Ann hated her mother and her coming into her world to destroy it. Ann didn’t have much to say to her mother and her mother didn’t have much to say to Ann. It was an awkward situation.
Things were strained that summer. The next major event occurred when Ann stepped onto a bus. Ann’s mother held Ann’s hand. Ann’s mother held a baby in her arms. Ann waved goodbye to grandparents. Ann’s mother took Ann to California to be with her. She wanted Ann to call her “momma, but Ann could not. Ann often thought of her momma who lived in Mississippi. She could no longer call her grandmother mamma she could not call her mother momma.
Six months later after her realization that things were not working out as she expected, Ann’s mother decided to send Ann back to Mississippi to live with Ann’s grandparents.
Upon arrival and observing her grandmother, Ann referred to grandmother as grandma Florence instead of momma. Her grandmother was hurt and disappointed. She wanted Ann to call her momma but Ann could no longer call her momma. Things were not the same as they were before her daughter returned. Maybe she should have told Ann more about her mother. As first Ann withdrew but eventually she fell into her grandmother’s arms.
Ann was back in Mississippi. But she was not the Ann who left Mississippi to go to California to live with her mother. Ann didn’t know how to respond to her grandmother. Betty, her mother, came into Ann’s world and disrupted that world. Why did Ann’s grandmother her mother? The entrance of Betty into Ann’s world was a shock which could have been avoided if Ann’s grandmother has accepted that she was Ann’s grandmother and not her mother.
People who rear children who are not their own should tell them. This would avoid the confusion that often arises when a parent decides to claim their child.
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