Sunday, 3 June 2012

Season Of Birthdays

This past Friday, June 1, would have been my late mother's sixty-fifth birthday. That day was mostly taken up with a staff development day at work followed by having an impromptu dinner with a friend in my neighbourhood. Then, I did an hour long spot on CITR, as part of their Rainbow 24 hour LGBTQ programming. I was thoughtful for much of the day. Late-May and early-June, the season of maternal birthdays.

My late grandmother (mother's mother) would have been ninety-three this past May 22. Today, June 3, my surviving grandmother turned ninety-one; my father and stepmother, both of whom are getting married this month, took her out for dinner and called me from my stepmother's cell. I spoke to my grandmother for the first time in nearly four years.

"So, how does it feel?" I asked.

"Oh, you get slower," she answered, sounding disoriented, but feisty as ever. The grandmother that I wished I had had more of a relationship with.

Last Christmas, I had dinner with my landladies, some of their friends and one of their mothers, in her late eighties. During a round of toasts, this very elderly woman, who had long ago accepted her own daughter being a lesbian, toasted me in a shakey, but determined voice, "for having the courage to be herself." Round of applause.

Of course, I always wonder if my mother would have come around were she still alive. And my Caribbean grandmother, with her fire and brimstone religious upbringing? And my surviving grandmother, of working class British ancestry?

As the season of birthdays draws to a close, hope springs eternal.

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