Friday, August 22, 2014

Being A Daughter - And My Aunt Nancy

Issues existed with my Daddy and his sister

Two children were adopted into the Carmen Cardella family, two unrelated, not biological siblings.

My two year old Daddy got a new Mother, Father and a Sister, and her name was Nancy. 

My Mother explained to me this brother and sister living in the same Chicago home, never developed a relationship growing up.

Recollections and memories can and do often fragment. I'm not sure how I did but somehow I learned that my Aunt Nancy cherished nice things, like mink coats and fine jewelry. This aunt seemed to get what she wanted and was accustomed to it.

I think of meeting her when I was very young, on a visit to Chicago, and I recall seeing bling on my Aunt Nancy. A lovely broach pinned on her coat, a double strand of pearls.

Sometime later my Aunt Nancy and her family visited our family in Southern California. 
The author kicking up her heels at 50.

On that trip, my Father's sister 'swooped' in and took me, only, for an epic, elaborate, expensive clothes shopping trip. Think of the shopping scene in the movie, “Pretty Woman." You get it. 

Sales women were sent hustling, listening to my Chicago Aunt advising them what to do, what to bring, and how to bring it. Money flowed, cha ching, cha ching, swirling and hurling the sales clerks. 

For a young teenager in the 70's, it was like winning the lottery. I started my freshmen year in high school in Whittier, California enjoying thoroughly being me. 

My Mother wasn't thrilled however with this shopping trip with my Aunt Nancy and it was an issue in our home.

I don't think the issue was jealousy, my Mother was a self assured and self reliant person, she didn't have a bone of jealousy in her body. I don't recall my Mother wasting even one moment of her life involving herself in other's business. She was benevolent, I remember efforts of charity. But not intrusive, ever.

Perhaps it was simple annoyance. Like, my 'tiger' mother felt that some familial tiger member was messing with one of her baby cubs. 

Further bolstering my thought process about the Nancy issue, my Mother wasn't a 'helicopter hovering' type. We were given an abundance of space, to play, to idle away hours of time in lands of adventure. This was certainly conducive and also reflective of that era. It was a safer time back in the early 60's. Our bicycles and our young selves traveled everywhere, gladly navigating our lands.

Sadly, I wouldn't know it til I was a young mother myself, but I relished 'being one of my Mother's cubs,' my bonding with my Daddy kinna' stood in our way.

My Mother was a naturally artistic woman who enjoyed life. She designed and created the interiors of our Southern California home and the front and rear landscaping; the various patio areas, without assistance of professionals. She forever was playing, staging various aspects of our home and making small and large art and artworks. She painted with oils, sculpted with clay, worked with tile and completed murals. Christmas at our home was without measure. 

My Mother created and I was blessed to observe, teaching me incidentally. I saw beauty being unveiled before my eyes, every day. Coming home, from school, to my Mother's home, our home, was frequently and often a delightful experience.

My eyes were trained to look for new lovelies, for beauty to reveal itself to me.

It was not my Mother's style to methodically teach; rather I was immersed. She quietly and naturally taught me.

Years later my Mother confided that I'd always had an inherent, instinctive confidence and ability - that she marveled at my apparent, seeming 'ease at life capability.'

I did know that life wasn't difficult for me, even big life, gargantuan situations. What I didn't know, what confounded me later, was that she thought it was beyond her own. 

I was sad because I saw a different woman; and these are perhaps secrets shared between mothers and daughters.

My Mother also told me she knew I was always a Daddy's girl. This concept fell awkward on my heart. It pained me to know it was so obvious.

These secrets were precious. Gifts.

My Aunt Nancy had gifted me way back then, a previously unknown level of excess in personal presentation, in clothing. She had no daughters and obviously ached for one. 

But I wasn't hers. That was an experience, a kinna' gift, but a fleeting one. 

My Aunt Nancy wished she'd had a daughter, and for a short period of time, I was it. And, unfortunately, my Mother resented it.  

Perhaps one too many women treating me like a daughter. Ummm. Can't answer to that.

We only had a bit of time to bond really as adult women friends. I was 29, a young woman and a mother myself when my Mommy died. 

The Aunt Nancy spending money on me thing, was a long ago issue, insignificant compared to what my Mother and I owned and shared.

Having time to be best friends with your mother is unequaled, unparalleled, invaluable. My Mother is the 'Queen Of My Own Personal Universe.'

To this day, thirty years later, it's my Mother's voice I seek.

You can't make another Mother. She's my go to person forever. For the best things in life and the worst things in life, I wanna' call my Mother. I want her.

I am who I am because of her.

Don't let your own mother daughter journey go. Grasp it with all the strength you've got. Hold on to it, tight. There's no other journey like it.

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