Gran's Apple Butter Blog

January 4, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Guest of Honor (4/IV)

Filed under: Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 11:04 am

Chapter 4 – Guest of Honor 
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

If Gran’s dream was right, and it felt like it was, that meant I had picked my own parents – and not just because Mom was such a good corn-on-the-cob-cutter. One afternoon Gran and I got to talking about how and why this might have been. That dream wasn’t the first time she’d heard this idea. Long ago the elders taught that all children picked their parents and planned their lives ahead of time, just like in her dream.

Gran said some people even believed that the second you came into being was your first home-coming, so the months between your conception and your birth were very special, as the parents you picked prepared to welcome you as an honored guest. You know, like the idea that you’re born through your parents, not to them. I don’t know where this idea started, but I think it’s pretty cool. If I had it to do over, I’d put in a request for a special hat. Maybe a crown. Or a tiara.

A big part of our life-long journey home is structured around this starting point, ‘cause finding your true self begins with going back to your roots – your family of origin – in whatever shape that took. Gran said this means reviewing the whole kit-and-caboodle, ‘cause until we look at who we are in our families and figure out just what we can learn from this, we’ll hobble along and won’t be able to move much past this point. This means asking questions about those contracts – who and what and where and how. Those who grew up in nontraditional settings also have questions to ask, to discover what they intended to learn in that role.

This only confirmed Gran’s belief that everything happens for a reason. Not surprisingly, when she applied this idea, it raised questions that make most of us squirm in our seats, ‘cause we’re taught not to touch these taboos – not even to think about ‘em. They might hurt someone’s feelings or remind us of things we’d sooner forget or make us question things other people don’t want questioned for reasons they might not even fully understand themselves.

In the middle of this conversation Gran might throw out, “Why do you think you were born into your family instead of Elvis’s?”(She was a big Elvis fan.) Then came the curve ball. “No matter how much you love them, what would you change about your parents or siblings?” You see, Gran believed that the things we’d like to change about our families are often the same issues we’re working on in ourselves. She thought this was the whole point of growth – for each generation to build on the one before.

So Gran would ask her visitors how everyone got along in their families, how they interacted, what dramas unfolded each day across their home stage. She’d ask about happy times and sad times, about good memories and not-so-good memories. She’d ask a few questions and then just let people talk.

They’d usually go on for a long time. Sometimes they wouldn’t say a lot, but big ol’ alligator tears would roll down their cheeks as they remembered things they hadn’t thought about in a long time. If they ran out of daylight and coffee, sometimes they’d come back the next day and start right in where they left off.

I often wondered how Gran could sit and listen so much; my ears got tired sooner or later. But Gran said her ears must have been specially made for this, ‘cause they never got tired, and that was good, because it was important for us to ask these questions. It was even more important for each of us to answer ‘em for ourselves, for however long we needed to keep talking, ‘cause in this way we could find part of our truth. This was part of finding our way.

Oh – about that hat – Gran says I had a special hat. It tied under my chin and was supposed to hold my ears flat against my head. That wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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