All posts filed under: Unfolding Inheritance

My Two Dads

This is Unfolding Inheritance, a column by Kristen Gentry exploring mother-daughter relationships, the impact of parental addiction, and the journey of finding and loving yourself through it all. * Both of my fathers have shown my boyfriend their guns.  My stepfather, let’s call him Daddy D, did it by way of introduction. Joe and I were seventeen and prom-bound. We’d been together for two years by then, but lived an hour apart and neither of us drove so we rarely saw each other during my weekend visits with cousins in Louisville. Our communication was mostly a mix of phone calls and handwritten letters. The letters were old school even then in the late nineties, but now they and the phone calls seem archaic. The calls were made on community house phones, not personal cell phones, and almost always while I was in Louisville because a call from home in Brandenburg was long distance and cost extra.  Until Joe arrived in our driveway laughing loudly, incredulously at the cows lining the fence of our gravel road, …

The New Me

This is Unfolding Inheritance, a column by Kristen Gentry exploring mother-daughter relationships, the impact of parental addiction, and the journey of finding and loving yourself through it all. * I’m building a new me. One step at a time. This is what I told myself as I stomped and spun through the dance routine my friend, Whitney, had choreographed to Raven-Symone’s “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of.” Whitney, Erika, and I were practicing for drill team tryouts. I was excited about the possibility of being on the team, feeling firmly planted as part of something.  I moved to Louisville, Kentucky from Brandenburg that summer after my parents’ separation. I was the new girl and had only been at Highland Middle School for a couple of months. I was shiny and mysterious, a puzzle people were interested in piecing, I discovered when Cory, a Larenz Tate lookalike (and I loved me some Larenz Tate) sauntered into my homeroom classroom, plopped into a seat beside me and asked my name, if I had a boyfriend. He …

Buying Time

This is Unfolding Inheritance, a column by Kristen Gentry exploring mother-daughter relationships, the impact of parental addiction, and the journey of finding and loving yourself through it all. * I love to shop. I get it from my mama. So much of my childhood was me and Mama at the mall, wrapped in the warm, chocolate chip smell of Great American Cookies and the chemical clean of the fountain’s chlorine. With the citrus froth of Orange Julius on my tongue, I watched the endless bubble of stumpy white geysers and gathered calm in the sound of the water’s gentle slap as it returned to the clear, shallow pool. I asked Mama for coins so I could throw them into the water to join other nickels, dimes, and pennies, shimmering on the fountain’s turquoise-painted bottom like fish scales. I wanted to make a wish.  I was always making wishes, but as an adult, I can’t imagine what I would have wished for then. I was already with my favorite person doing what we loved to do. …

Childless

This is Unfolding Inheritance, a column by Kristen Gentry exploring mother-daughter relationships, the impact of parental addiction, and the journey of finding and loving yourself through it all. * While thrift shopping with my mother, I found a sweatshirt. Faded red with white block text blaring, “Childless.” What? I was startled to confusion though the message was clear. The wearer of said sweatshirt had no children. I’m so used to finding t-shirts boasting “Mama Bear” and “Tough as a Mother” that it shocked me to discover this deviation from mommy merch.  I showed the shirt to Mama. “What do you think?”  Her face shifted through the initial confusion I’d experienced.   “It’s a nice sweatshirt,” she finally said, running her hand down a sleeve. “Heavy. Will you wear it?” she asked.  “I think so.” I knew her question was more than an inquiry about cost per wear.   I prefer the term “childfree” with its highlight of freedom, lightness, the giving of bougie auntie, I-might-watch-your-kids-while-you-have-a-night-out-or-I-might-not-cuz-you-made-the-choice- to-have-kids-sis-not-me vibes. But “childfree” and “childless” aren’t synonyms. Childlessness is about wanting …