“She’s got nobody else,” Taye said to me. “We’re all she has now.”
“Yeah, I know.”
|yeah ... no.|
Melinda* is seven years older than me. I was the last one born and Marco is between us. Melinda was never fond of kids. She was sure to tell me this every chance she had: “You’re the reason I don’t like kids.”
It’s not entirely her fault she felt this way. I probably would too if I were forced to constantly babysit my younger siblings; Mama and Papa just put too much responsibility onto her. I get that now.
We were never close.
I tried so many times. And then I just gave up. Wasn’t that long ago when I gave up either, but I did. I kind of stopped caring. Then she got divorced for a second time, and now she lives alone and her drunk of a daughter won’t allow Melinda to see her grandbaby. I know it hurts her. I know she’s human despite not acting like one for so many years. I know it’s all a façade—her strength. I know, deep down, she’s still a little girl in many ways.
But it’s so hard for me to care.
I hosted a baby shower for my BFF/cousin last weekend. Melinda showed up an hour late. She stayed well into the evening despite everyone else leaving hours before her. It was very odd to have her sit there in my home without any other family there besides Taye and Lovie. It was even more odd to watch Lovie latch on to Melinda…something I’ve yearned for Lovie for so long—a real relationship with her aunt. When she finally left (when it was time to get Lovie into bed) I made mention to Taye how weird it was for me to have Melinda there so long after the shower had ended.
“She probably has nothing else to do.”
“Oh I know, but it’s still weird.”
Yesterday Melinda showed up to Lovie’s dance recital after claiming she wouldn’t make it. She showed up, she gave Lovie hugs and kisses after her recital, and then when Lovie saw the flowers in Melinda’s car (intended for our mom for Mother’s Day) and excitedly thought they were for her, Melinda gave the flowers to the tiny dancer with a chuckle and a smile.
We all went to lunch afterward to celebrate Mother’s Day and Lovie’s first dance show. It was a really lovely day. At one point Melinda was walking back to the table and Lovie ran up to her and hugged her legs. I smiled. Melinda held Lovie’s head to her to bring her in closer. Melinda smiled, too.
It was weird though...She’s all alone. She has two adult children, one 13-year-old, and a granddaughter. None of whom she saw yesterday. On Mother’s Day.
How sad is that?
And yet, it’s hard for me to care too much.
A part of me hopes that this is the thing that will bring us closer, but I just don’t know.