I am not sure how to start this essay, Adalie. I have been thinking the last few days what I needed to say and how to say it. Not sure I will get it right. I guess I will just start talking and we will see where that takes us.
While on a fishing trip I received word on Saturday, April 27th from your Nana that her Grandmother Ruth had died. We had been expecting the call. Ruth was 96 years old and was in hospice care. She had a long and very adventurous life. She was a true trailblazer. I am not going to go into the details here about her life. I will leave that for future conversations with your Nana and other family members who knew her better than I. Her obituary contains much of her history, and I am sure you will have that for future reference. If anyone else is interested they can Google Ruth Kolpin Rubison.
What I want to talk to you about is the legacy that Ruth has left behind for you: A legacy of strength. A legacy of perseverance. A woman who never wanted to hear something could not be done. Now someone else might have to do it, but she did not want to hear that it was not going to happen. Ruth was the family matriarch and role model, and I have seen many of her attributes passed down.
After leaving your house on Monday the 29th I went to work for a day and on Wednesday, May 1st we headed to Joplin. It was a sad time, and a happy time. I am not sure how to explain that to you. I realize that you are only two months old. One day you will understand.
We were there to celebrate Ruth’s life. We saw family we have not seen in quite some time. Your Nana’s cousins were there. These are people she grew up with. They lived in the same town growing up and they were more like brothers and sisters. It seems that now we only get together at weddings and funerals. I agreed that we should get together more often. We will. That I promised your Nana.
You see Adalie when you are born into this world you are with family. As you travel through your life you will make many friends and have many acquaintances. Friends and acquaintances will come and go as you pass through the different stages of your life. A few will last a lifetime. How many? Well that will depend on how hard you work at it.
One thing for sure is that you will always have family. We enter this world with family and I would think, if people have a choice, they would choose to also have family with them when they leave this life. That is my hope. I understand that Ruth had family with her at the end. That makes me happy.
As I spent three days in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas I had a front row seat watching family. It was fun. Watching Uncle Ron tend bar in the lower level of his house conveniently near the swimming pool was amazing. He made drink after drink. Your Nana only had one glass of wine. Uncle Ron made sure that for several hours that glass was never empty. I have not seen your Nana like that for many, many years. It is all fun and games until she barfs in my car. I had Aunt Weezie give her a barf bag for the ride back to Bentonville, Arkansas form Carthage, Missouri. No accidents. Thank God. I would have hated to kick her out of the car. Just kidding. Maybe.
I mention that now, because I would bet that in the future if this ever comes up she will leave that part out. Hey it happens. Been there done that. If an accident would have occurred in the car I would eventually forgive her. Maybe.
Forgiveness. When I think of a strong person that is one of the many attributes I think of. I mention it here, because I believe it is an attribute that is often forgotten. As you go through life, Adalie you will need to learn to forgive. That can be hard. You cannot hate as that will just eat you up inside. You can learn to forgive. Trusting that person again might be a little more difficult. Maybe impossible. I have witnessed many an apology, but sometimes not seen the person’s behavior change. These are people you need to distance yourself from.
Just as important as the forgiveness of others is forgiving yourself. We all make mistakes. Do your best to make things right and move on knowing you have done what you could.
You will have many female role models in your life, Adalie. Your mother, Nana, Aunt Amy, and too many others to list here. I will stop so I do not get into trouble.
Many of your role models will have learned how to be a strong woman by watching Ruth. They have watched and learned and then developed those attributes they saw to fit their own unique personality. No one is ever a direct copy of someone else. We are influenced by many.
Even though you will never know or meet Ruth. A little of her personality will be passed down to you. I see it in your Nana, and your mother. That is good. I think.
It also means that in the future, your significant other will need a Man/Dog Cave. (Erin is editing this and would like you to know, Adalie, that if your significant other identifies as a woman, that is A-OK and she can have a woman cave if she wants.) You see your role models are very good at getting their points across and you always know where they stand and what is expected. Sometimes they scare me. My Man/Dog Cave has come in handy. Just saying.
Even though Ruth is no longer physically present in our lives. She is there. She lives on in her family. You my dear, are a part of that legacy. Therefore I have no doubt that you too will be like her: A Strong Woman.