We all have those phrases in our families -- you know the ones that are on loop in good times and bad, meant to provide comfort, inspiration, and ultimately a credo to be immortalized on your crest. In my family it is "you can't write the script" courtesy of my maternal grandmother who learned, and lived, tragic heartache the magnitude of a Sunday night Lifetime movie special. You see my Grandma Ruth met a handsome man in her early 20's and this man became my Grandfather. Now my Grandpa Morris was something else -- super young college and graduate school grad, super successful (and young) college professor, and stellar dad to two young ones for whom he kept detailed logs re: eating, sleeping, and pooping. Before we move on you should know that all the above is known via story from some long since passed, and those that barely still hold onto the memory, because he died at the young age of 28.
My Grandparents had a Big Love, almost borderline mythical in excitement and possibility. Unfortunately, and as aforementioned tragically, their story ended much too abruptly with much left unsaid and explored. Leaving behind two kids (one being my mom) under the age of three and a young widow, my Grandfather passed right before the Polio vaccine came out. Their script, one full of adventure, buckets of kids, and laughter ended and a new one arose from the puddle of tears my Grandma shed in the bathroom, hidden away from her children, every evening.
My Grandma was a force -- politically active, never a victim, and always resilient. She gave birth to our credo as a result of her story ending and new one beginning. Her new script was not as glamorous, as it was motivated as much by necessity as it was survival. But she did it. She persevered to attain a second career as a school teacher, with flexible family friendly hours, as opposed to her previous staring role as a buyer at Bloomingdales. She modeled structure and predictability to her children even without her partner's meticulous notes. She re-wrote her script while always carrying with her the former.
I think of my Grandparents often and marvel that a man I never met (whom I am older than when he passed) had such a profound influence on my life. His tragedy became my mission. In the face of adversity how do you move forward? How do you "roll with the punches" and don't get knocked down but continue to live? Life is funny because it is only after you experience something are you afforded the opportunity of reflection. There are no do-overs, throw away takes, or changing of the characters. You are dealt the hand you receive and you can either allow that to hold you back or build you up. My Grandma never remarried and to say she survived but did not thrive would be for my mom to explain. I adored my Grandma and I still know her phone number by heart as I called her every afternoon to talk about my day. But now as a married woman and mother of two I see there were parts of her life that were never rewritten. And that is OK, as it was her journey.
The attached picture to this blog are hopeful, blissfully in love young people who woke up every day with the intent to do right by themselves and others. Their script changed and yet the intent was the same. Trust the compass you have inside of you to balance your heart and mind because it was placed their by generations upon generations of family that created the internal script you are living.