You know that image you have of one person? You know the feeling that you get when you hear a story and that image gets shattered? That happened to me this week.
The other day I was having a conversation with my mother. I cannot remember how or why we started talking about her side of the family but we did. As we spoke, my mother told me these stories about her mother (my grandmother), her grandmother, and her great-grandmother. Although some of the stories I had heard before, some were new. You could say that my image of these family members was changed. But what I found amusing was that the image I had of my grandmother changed.
In my mind, my grandmother had always been the same. Whenever I hear stories of other people’s grandmothers they all are sweet, “apoyadoras”, awesome cooks, and the most cuddly people out there.
Not my grandmother.
She’s the opposite of the stereotypical image of a grandmother. Con ella no se juega. Sure she has a sense of humor and is caring (in her way), but is far from the stereotypical grandma.
As my mother was telling me these stories it hit me that although my grandmother had always seemed like a tough cookie,, I remembered that she is human. Some stories I knew because my grandmother had told them to me, and others she told my mother. As I heard the stories of her youth, her adult life, motherhood, and of her life, I realized that my grandmother must have been like me at one point. She was young, she had dreams and aspirations, she had impulsive feelings, she must have felt awkward at one point, she had fights… she had had all these things and more.
I felt like I was more connected to her in those stories than in real life. Maybe now we can bond more. Who knows?
It made me wonder if these same thoughts ever came to her when she heard stories of her mother and her grandmother.
I wonder if she had these familiar thoughts.