By Rosalba Stocco, MSW, RSW
My Nonna did not buy me wheels. I’m not so sure she bought anyone wheels. My mother felt taken advantage of by her own mother. In my mind, my mother did not take advantage of her children, although she had high expectations of what her children should do for her and themselves. My father did somehow access a brand new bicycle for me before we immigrated. Unfortunately, that beautiful little bicycle did not get to come with me to Canada. My dreams about that bicycle were so real that I would run outside in the morning only to be disappointed that it was not where I left it in my dreams.
My second bike came to me when I was 12 because my oldest sister found one that was thrown out. Both of those bicycles have a special place in my heart. The second bicycle gave me a sense of belonging with my Canadian friends. With it, I could escape family conflict and join my friends on escapades and adventure. Of course, that sometimes led to misadventures and trouble at home when I did not return home at the expected time.
The bicycle was an opportunity to further my rebellion. Unbeknownst to me, my rebellious streak came from my Mother. I thought it was because I was “cattiva” (bad). In fact, I was so “cattiva” , that when I survived a near miss at the age of 3, I was told that even the devil did not want me. Whenever these comments were hurled at me, they did not sound like echoes of the past. They felt like demonic hauntings that introduced fear of the dark. They meant finding ways to avoid overwhelm even though panic was a breath away.
With time, patience and perseverance I found myself laughing with these memories because they are simply clues of generational experiences that are no longer scary. These were clues to gifts and blessings that were like vaccinations to possible future adversities.
My mother faced similar negativity. I remember her telling me that when she dared to wear lipstick in her little town she was accused of being a “loose” woman. My mother was conservative by today’s standards, progressive by some in the 1930’s and likely “cattiva” by some because she dared to live life on her terms. She paid a price for daring to expect to have some fun, happiness, and adventure. I am not sure how much fun and happiness she found. She had what I thought were some strange ideas. My daughter laughed when she was told she should not shave her legs because her husband might feel pins and needles when his legs rubs against hers.
My Mother also told me that if divorce was popular she would have divorced our father and if the birth control pill was popular, only two of us would be here to talk about her.
I find her honesty and transparency uplifting. With that statement, she gave us all permission to live our lives the way we want, not the way that society or religion dictates.
She did find adventure, independence, and freedom. She would not have found it without rebelling against the norms of the time, religion and culture.
By daring to strive living outside of the box, she set a precedent for me, my children and grandchildren. Hopefully, my children and grandchildren will strive to move beyond whatever box society creates, just as their Grandmother and Great Grandmother before them.
Reach out today
To learn more about reclaiming the love stories of our families and gaining a new perspective on what love truly means, stay tuned for Rosalba’s and Jacqueline’s new book Love Stories of our Families.
Rosalba helps individuals, couples, and families heal and live a more productive, harmonious life. To book an appointment or to find out more about how Systemic Family Constellations therapy can help you, reach out today. You can call or fill out the contact form.