Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grandmothers: The ambassadors of the World

Great Grandma Cleo Nice with her Great Grandson Chatterbox 

I just spoke with Mr. Rant's Grandmother. It's her birthday. 87 years young. We decided that she is much closer to 25 yrs old than 90.

The conversation reminded me of when I first moved here. I never felt weird attempting to talk to the Grandmothers, on either side. They know/knew zero English. Nothing. But they accepted me as one of their clan.

In all fairness, they were/are both used to taking in strays. Both have/had adopted many children and raised them as their own. It was common at the time. You have a sister, brother, or cousin of a sister or brother who not afford the newest and left them with these women to be raised well and with love.

My first visit to my husband's late Grandmother on his Mother's side was the most comforting thing for this new expat. I walked into her apartment, which smelled of home-cooked food, and she put her arms around me. Just that was enough. Whenever we were in the room together she had her little arm around my waist, as it had no hopes of reaching my shoulders. And she held me as if I was someone who had not been held by family, other than my husband, in a long time. You know what, I hadn't and it was exactly what I needed.

The Grandma on the Father's side declared to me that she is also my Grandmother. That, of course, came after thanking me for marrying her bachelor Grandson. It had been 5 years since his last relationship! Gasp! She was concerned that he would never settle down.

The funny thing was that I felt at home with them. They both, with all their sass, reminded me of my Grandmothers. They filled the hole, so surprisingly well, of my family. And surprisingly to me, the Queens of the family Monarchs made me feel so apart of a family that I wasn't sure would accept me.

To this day I look forward to family lunches just for this. Now I get to take my children, who quickly run around spastically like all children are known to do, and both women proclaim/proclaimed with pride "These boys feel at home here and they are!"

Two women from my husband's lineage gave this struggling expat a light in the dark at a time where I was afraid to be a woman, much less knowing how to be a wife. Their strength, stories, and ease with acceptance showed me a side to the chaotic Brazil that made me want to belong.

Not to mention the shock value of an 85 yr old telling you how important it is to give your husband sex when he wants to. Lion in the bedroom ladies!