Mom was delighted to see the album but wasn't interested in those photos but was going through other papers. She handed me a folder with one of my niece's birth announcements in it. (My back of mind immediately classified it as not for me to preserve as my sister must have the digital source for it.) Also in the folder were all sorts of articles on raising anxious children and so on. I recalled Mom's "meddling" and diagnosing and how painful that has been for my sister. It's lead to significant estrangement between my mom and my brother's family. I've taken those home to recycle.
There were other treasures, perhaps some more private than i should see, but i took them up and scanned them. I have a letter her mother wrote to her her first year of college in response to a Mother's Day letter. (I may have lost some pages and will need to find the letter again to complete it.) Personally, i note the comments about social anxiety (stated in different terms) and acknowledgements of class differences (again, in different terms). Also, her mother kept noting that they were raising good citizens. Citizens. I hold that in my heart at the moment, thinking of the current state of the country. I wonder how representative the letter is of their mother-daughter communication, if my grandmother was as confident as i read it or if she was more apologetic.
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Christine has been triggered significantly. Holidays lead to a heightened sensitivity. Yesterday she was set off by a comment from a banking representative that she took as judgemental, causing a landslide of all her self judgement. Then my parent's plans changed: last minute changes leading to potentially more expectations are also trigger. Today, tomorrow, and then we have a family visit on her side on Saturday. Then the holidays will be "done." I can't but imagine how holidays -- with her siblings returning home from college and visiting with their families -- interrupted her almost-only-childness and created a chaos of expectations and "tradition" that she hadn't been part of forming. Maybe that's part of why the season is so triggery. It's hard to know. What i do know is that there are many for whom this is a hard and not-magical time of the year. I hope for some ease and grace for all, especially Christine.