“Believing takes practice.” ~ Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
Ticky Tack Houses and Believing in What you Stand For
There was a time in my life where my grandmother was very critical and cynical of not only my mother and step-father, but of me and several of my siblings. We were too chubby, the job my step- father had was not good enough and how ON EARTH COULD MY MOTHER POSSIBLY THINK taking in foster children was a good idea. In her [humble] opinion, it was an absurd idea and a waste of resources. My grandfather would tell her to go easy, this was his daughter after all. That did not help, ever. At one point, you see, my grandma was just~ my grandma.
She played “Katy Cooker” with me and bought me my own cooking utensils so I could do what she was doing in the kitchen. She played (to the best of her high and tight) ability with me like a normal grandma would, until the day I said the words, “I’m full” at her very proper dinner table. That was it… Katy Cooker disappeared that night and I was formally introduced to a new language. I was told THAT NIGHT that I was rude and I was to say, “I’ve had an adequate sufficiency.” Who says that? Well, I do now.. laughing of course and so do my children… with different versions… ” I have been adequately sufficed, or I have been sufficiently adequated.” I find this humorous. My grandma, even now, does not. She has calmed down a bit~ but her BELIEFS remain the same.
When we moved slightly closer for my step-dad’s job, it was not close enough. However, finally after many years of renting, my parents were able to purchase their own home. I was unhappy about this because I was in middle school and slightly rebellious but I overcame that quickly, realizing this was a good thing.
My grandparents came to visit for the first time and my grandpa was so proud of my mom for being able to buy this house. Was it beautiful and big and in the Country Club? Absolutely not. We were like Mother Hubbard in shoe. There were a lot of us in a tiny house with one bathroom, but it was ours.
My grandmother took one look at it and told my mom, “what a ticky tack house!” For the first time ever I heard my mom stand up to her. It felt good. My mom stood firm and let my grandma know that she did not have to be in the center of what my mom believed in. My mom believed in helping others. That belief included buying a home, regardless of the fact that it was not perfect, it was not huge and it was not in Sacramento where my grandparents lived. It was ours. It was filled with love.
Ultimately, my grandmother did not believe that when my grandfather passed away someday, that we would still be “her family.” She had a funny way of showing that she wanted our love cultivated in her garden! However, we never stopped loving our grandma. We resented her at times, but the love only grew for her and we always let her know. She did not believe in the love my mom instilled in us because she had no children of her own. She was a step-parent and had acted like the step-parents you ready about in V.C. Andrews books.
Believing does take practice. You have to believe in what you stand for. Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to remain true to yourself and what you ultimately believe in because following is much safer than leading.
When my grandpa did pass away, another hero was lost and we were all devastated. More than anyone, though, my grandma couldn’t pick herself back up. Because we believed in the power of love, we were there. My mom may have shrunk away for a time, only because she too was in an immense amount of pain, but the kids were there. We were there for her because we believed that not only was she our grandma who had been there and adequately loved us, but because in that Ticky Tack house, beliefs were instilled in us that that will live on forever.