Reflecting On My Family of Origin
I grew up in the early years of my life in an extended family home. It consisted of my parents, siblings—2 sisters and 1 brother—and my paternal grandparents. My grandfather was of mixed ancestry but I never really knew what this meant until I was old enough to understand. I would always ask my parents why my grandfather was so light but I would always get pushed to the side or told they didn’t want to talk about it.
My mother and grandmother were basically responsible for taking care of the household—the cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the kids. I do not recall either of my parents working outside of the home but I assumed they did because money came from somewhere. Both my grandfather and my father served in the Army, my grandfather in World War I and my father in World War II. As I became older, myself along with my oldest sister, began helping with the household chores, my oldest sister more than myself as there was a 7 year age difference. My youngest sister was just a baby and my brother was allowed to play and generally do whatever he wanted. I remember thinking that it was unfair that because I was a female I was expected to do household chores but that was the way of a black southern household. I always wondered who came up with those rules in the first place. I assumed it was my mother.
My family did not really communicate well from what I can remember. My mother was very strict and had very rigid boundaries which did not make for a good basis for communication. I remember always running to my grandfather when my mother wouldn’t let me have my way. That was one person she never told what to do. I realize now that was because it was out of respect. I remember when arguments would come up there was yelling. Not a lot just enough to get a point across and that was it, the issue was dropped and not brought up again. Today I do not see how the issues ever got worked out, which makes me...
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