|Shoes and headphones on the road, looking for new ideas
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Monday, October 10, 2022
*Bannock is a form of bread. Most Indigenous nations in North America have some version of bannock as a staple in their diets.
My Uncle Henry was murdered when I was still young. I only have a few memories of him. My memories are few but I have thought of him often.
I have often thought about the lack of time we had with Uncle Henry. The sadness of his story tends to envelop these thoughts like a fog. He was native and adopted into my mom's white family. The history of his specific why and how I do not know, but our Canadian history I am aware of. I think of how my uncle's stories were stolen from him, of how his life was manipulated, of his murder and the horrific unsurprised and hardly caring attitudes about it.
My mom loved my Uncle Henry and was angered by the way her family treated him. When she shares memories of their childhood, the angry passion she expresses reminds me of the angry passion I would see in my own little sister when she witnessed cruelty dressed up as kindness. It is a passion I have always felt uncomfortable around. My awe of their innate vision mixes with my fear of their inability to be in the background and ignore it, shrug it off. Be a good girl.
I think of my Uncle Henry and, often, I think of children like me. So busy being a good girl they don't let angry passion get them in trouble. With practice, they learn not to have angry passion at all. I suspect, from the little I knew of my uncle, he was a child like me. A good boy. But unlike me, he wasn't white. No amount of being good could change that.
But today, for me, this is the wrong way to think about it. The wrong focus.
I have only a few memories of time spent with my Uncle Henry, and only one that is clear and easily replayed in my mind. It is a wonderful memory that brings no sadness. Only a feeling of family.
I remember bannock.
He sat, quietly - he was so quiet in my memory - on the living room floor with my sister and me, making bannock on mom's hot plate. He was telling us, in a quiet uncertain sort of way, about the bread he was making and a history of learning it from his native family. A history he may have been both inventing and remembering. A history I craved knowing more about but feared asking too many questions lest he feel singled out and interrogated. I was loving the moment, the stories, the food, the family, and I didn't want him to stop sharing.
He was living with us for a bit. His family had refused him, and eventually my stepdad refused him, but not mom. She fought for him, insisted on finding ways to help him even when my stepdad wouldn't allow it. My mom deeply cared about her brother. She didn't treat him like a problem, or a hardship, but like a person she cared about.
A person worth the work of caring about in an environment that didn't make it easy.
I'm sorry I didn't have more time to learn with him. To know him. To discover the person my mom cared so much about.
There is sadness in his story but to focus on it takes away from the beauty of the bannock. It also creates a feeling that sadness belongs in his story. That it is a necessary part of remembering my Uncle Henry. How sad!
Today, I am grateful. For the time he did spend with us, for a mom who made room for that, and for the quiet way he showed his caring.
I'm grateful for an uncle who was shy and uncertain yet inclined toward sitting with my little sister and me on mom's living room floor to make bannock.
An uncle who sat on the floor with us to share bannock.
Bonus: I am including a link to the song my mom wrote about my uncle and his murder. Have a listen. Maybe sit on the living room floor while my uncle, through my mom, shares his bannock.
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
I love a world that celebrates great parents. Working ones, stay-at-home ones, quiet ones, struggling ones, silly ones, older ones, strait laced ones, single ones, partnered ones, funny ones, young ones, adopted ones... parents have so much power. I love when we care little about the labels and a lot about love, evolution, and all encompassing caring.
|Shay building fun stuff for the kids with his brother, their dad