Life can take us down very strange roads. I have ended up in so many unexpected places and they have become parts of who I am. But, as with most people, it was my childhood that led me to this path. I never expected to be living with my family again after all of these years. There is so much I do not know about them. Their dreams, their pasts, are as much a mystery to me as mine are to them. This picture of my father has always struck me. Especially surrounded by images of my grandfathers. He is the only one still alive and yet I know as little about him as I do about them.
My whole life I have always watched him build things... It is one of the things he has no idea I am envious of. I am not very good at taking pictures of people... I think about it a lot. There are images I have imagined for years but I have never been very good at working with people. This is especially obvious when it comes to my family... Watching him as a child was the seed that started my need to make things.
My mother is a collector. She keeps things that others forget about. Sometimes I think she is holding on to these things for my sister and I. That these memories are for us... and she is guarding them. I have always envied her independence and strength. I still find myself trying to be more like her.
I am not sure how long my parents have had this chair. I remember Mom telling me not to rock it if I wasn't sitting in it... Her superstitions, her childhood that has also become a part of me. It is strange the things we remember as years go by, the things that we forget. It has always sat in a corner of their bedroom now, I don't know if anyone will ever sit in it again.
I haven't seen my sister in more years then I care to admit. My fault maybe, just the distance maybe... we have lived half a world apart for much of my adult life. I still picture her as a little girl. Even knowing that all of her children are older than she was in this picture. When I returned to Canada I hoped to see more of her, more of her family. Things don't always work out the way we wished... Someday I hope we can take a vacation together. Just take a week and go... I miss her.
The little girl is actually my grandmother. My mother has become fascinated by family, the world she ran away from, since they moved back to Nova Scotia. She had an even more complex relationship with her mother than I ever had with my family. I sometimes wonder how much I actually know about my parents and what I just assume... I wonder what she sees in the old images she now has on her walls. I wonder why she chooses them.
I never really knew my grandmother. She was extremely distant around me to the point that she hadn't spoken to me for many years before she died. I don't think I will ever know why, I don't think she ever spoke to anyone about it. I remember sitting in her kitchen, I remember the smoked fish she would cook for me when I was a child. Strangely enough I have more memories of the other woman in the picture. She was my great grandmother and was already suffering from what might have been Alzheimers... She could only remember my mother as a little girl. I don't know if she actually understood who I was but I spent one of the best afternoons of my life with her. These are some of the women in my family.
Families are complex.