Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

04 March 2010

Women's History Month: My history

Today's Women's History Tidbit:
1933: President Franklin Roosevelt nominates Frances Perkins as US Sectretary of labor. The first woman in the cabinet, she will serve 12 years and will be the primary figure behind the Social Security Act of 1935.

Today I'm in Washington, DC for a NSF grantee meeting. But my great-aunt (my mom's aunt) lives in the area and we're getting together for dinner. I haven't seen her since my mom & I visited San Antonio just before my mom's uncle passed away in 1997. Yeah, a long time.

While I'm excited to see her again and at least one of my mom's cousins, I'm also excited to gain possession of a few pictures of my Grandma and some family history. My great-aunt's daughter let me know that she has been doing family tree stuff and would send that info on with her mom. She sent me a preview of the information the other day that I'm still digesting.

I won't go into everything, but let me say that while the information isn't something to boast about, it also makes my grandmother's ways make sense to me. Not justification for some of her actions, but she makes more sense to me. My mom also makes more sense to me. And I feel like I knew 80% of what my cousin sent me already. But that last 20% was critical and so missing!

I often ponder my history, my daughter's history and all the missing pieces that are glaring. So much died so long ago, not with my Grandma or my mom's death, but in their refusal to share. In what I believe may also had been their collective shame of how things went down years ago. It pains me to think of all that they were carrying around in their hearts all those years.

Obviously I have things that I ponder whether or not I'm going to tell the kid. If I do, when. How. All parents have those things and some of us bury them deep in the backyard and some of us shine the light on them as lessons for our kids. I wish the women of my family had shone the light on their history. I think it would had made for a more enlightened family life.

* Source: 2010 Women Who Dare Engagement Calendar from the Library of Congress


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