It occurred to me, on the tenth anniversary of my grandmother's passing, that I had doled out an injustice for far too long. My Grandfather Married a woman not too very long after our loss, though it was a few years. She was a nice lady and I was thrilled for him to have found love and comfort even though his wife of a billionteen years had died FAR far far too young from the evils of lung cancer. At first anyways.
But then it became apparent that our family and all of it's traditions had gone to the grave with my amazing grandmother, and it seemed that this new woman was to blame. It felt we were tossed aside and out of touch which was completely unlike us all. The head of the family passed and we all seemed to cower to our homes and scraping together for oddball events or the meager few who still were able to attend Christmases or a Thanksgiving but never the Easters. Easter was Mamaw's superbowl. She cooked and planned, she organized activities for us all to enjoy, we had GUEST JUDGES for our egg decorating contests and EACH of us got a prize. She probably loved giving the prizes just as much as we loved earning them. No one and I mean NO ONE could out Easter my mamaw.
It seems I unknowingly had placed a good bit of unfair expectation and grief on Poor Betty. The new wife. They have come to visit all the way from Arkansas on their way up to Canada. I'm sure this section of Connecticut isn't exactly a straight shot to where they're headed. So it's very nice that they stopped by. She is really a very sweet woman and you can really tell she does love my Papaw and they really do enjoy one another. In fact I almost hesitated bringing up a memory with my mamaw in it simply for fear of striking the wrong nerve with them. But I didn't hold back. Mamaw was a huge part of our history, why wouldn't I want to share these warm memories? After all it wasn't out of spite or to make Betty squirm that I brought up dear Mamaw. It was just a moment to enjoy with my family and conversation. I hugged Betty so tight seeing her this visit, and I've hugged her before, I'm not a monster. But this time it was a warm get over here I love you hug with added appreciation. I do so love my family. I wish I hadn't been so put off. Feelings get hurt and blame and anger get misplaced. It's not easy admitting you're wrong. but once you do the possibilities that lie ahead of you are so much more light and warm.
It dawned on me that she was not meant to replace my mamaw and I needed to stop trying to fit her into the shoes of someone I had known, loved and grown with. I needed to appreciate her for who she is and all of her positive characteristics versus being angry she didn't meet the criteria of being a whole other person that in ways I had hoped she would be. It hurt that she didn't try to mold into the edges of expectations. And those were unrealistic and unfair expectations for anyone to have to fill. The love she and my Grandfather share is adorable and gentle and sweet. And I regret ever having been bitter. Lesson learned. :)