Monday, 3 August 2015

A Potted History (part 2) #22

Hello little bean (no matter how old you are you'll always be my little bean). Your dad has asked/told me to write my potted history, which you are now a part of and which will be a part of your potted history.

So, my mum is English as are her parents as were their parents. My dad was born here and his parents were from Jamaica, as were their parents, but I'm not sure about before that. That makes me, and you, a mix of things.

I quite like that we have that in common. We're neither one thing or another, yet they each play a part in our makeup, so we can claim any feature when it suits. When it comes to filling in forms, I have never seen a box for black/British/Jewish and I'm glad because I don't want you to feel like you are defined by one thing and that's that. There's some comfort in belonging but it can also become limiting.

Back to our history. Your grandparents on my side came together at a time when it wasn't common or particularly accepted for two people with different skin colours to come together. Apparently, people used to think that children born from such a match would be an abomination and would have terrible deformities. Ha! Well, we don't.

I don't think your grandparents had it particularly easy, and it's difficult to imagine what that must have been like, but love won. And it's something to be proud of because if either of them was weak willed or easily swayed, then we wouldn't be here.

Your grandparents met at school and have been together ever since! My mum told me that she used to get the bus home from school and your granddad would run along side the bus and try to keep up. They'll have some good stories for you when you're growing up - their world was just so different from what yours will be, but I'm not so sure that human nature has changed as much. Ask your granddad about car minding and about his dad! 

So the first time I went on an aeroplane was to Jamaica. We went twice as a family and I think my memories of both trips have merged into one. We visited a few different places and stayed with my grandma for some time too. It is a holiday that has stayed with me - the first time that I saw a green coconut, a lizard and children without shoes - we hope to take you there too at some point.

My grandma's parents are buried on the land that my grandma owned and now she's buried there too. The last time I went was 2004 and it was a completely different country to the one we visited in the 80s/90s.

My mum's parents will be some of the first people you'll meet and a picture of you will have a place under their television with all of the other grand and great grandchildren. This will be one of the many places that you can feel that you will always belong.

 Their England was an amazing place, but totally different to the England that you will be born into. They are a generation that lived through a war, went to dances, repaired things, shopped at greengrocers and dressed properly. There will be things that I say or do subconsciously because my mum said or did them that she does because her mum said or did them and that's just one of the many things that you will inherit.

I've no idea what you will look like, what your temperament will be or what you will become but I am so excited to meet you and watch you grow and me and your dad will do all we can to give you the best of us.

Love mum. x