It is amazing how his family becomes your family after marriage. The dynamics that you’ve had all of these years now need to be shared with a new group of people. The closest members of your tribe become exposed and everyone is vulnerable. I’m fortunate enough where our families have meshed well. Maybe it is the distance, maybe it is the personalities, we’ll never know. Regardless I’m grateful how easy it is when we’re together.
Last week, we had the opportunity to visit some of my father in law’s first cousins. They live a couple of hours away and coordinating schedules isn’t always easy. We were able to meet up with three of them (and families) and the stories that were shared and the memories that were relived were special even for an outside to see. Before we headed back we were able to visit with Yiayia Georgia. She is my husband’s grandmother’s sister. Unfortunately all of my husband’s grandparents, as well as my grandparents are deceased. So it was amazing for the kid to be able to connect with someone of that generation. Yiayia Georgia is 92 years old and God bless her, she remembers things better than some people half of her age.
My FIL asked her to tell me the story of the deer, since I had never heard it. I’ll preface the story with they live on a farm with many acres so seeing wildlife is an everyday occurrence for them. She recalled a day when she had gone out for a walk and a deer had the same idea. She stood still as really what else could she do. The deer proceeded to come closer to her. She couldn’t run so she stood there until the deer came close enough where she could grab it by the neck. So here is this woman, in her 60s holding the deer in fear it’ll hurt her. Luckily her daughter was on the property and saw this from a window and came running down. Yiayia asked her daughter to go grab some rope so they can tie the deer’s feet. Once that happened Yiayia could finally let go of it and not be scared. Quite honestly she didn’t say she was scared I used that word as really, nothing else fit. Women of that generation didn’t have the same fears that you and I do. They didn’t have to fear online bullying of their kids and sexual predators in their neighborhoods. Their kids played outside until the streetlights came on and usually since they were all immigrants they tended to stick together. They lived two to four families in a home, they worked the land, they tried to have the best life that they could. Their fears were about the boat journey to come to a new country. They worried about not knowing the language and leaving family behind that they could only communicate to via letters and then telephone. They worried about keeping those Greek traditions alive while assimilating in their new country. Yiayia Georgia is what I would call a νταρντάνα γυναίκα. She was one tough cookie and I am just lucky enough to call her family.