Geraldine’s First Story


I was born in Dublin.  My mother left me for America when I was 8 months old.  I was brought up by my grandparents, and when I was old enough, I attended school in a convent.  My mother would send me packages from America, and the nuns would have me go from classroom to classroom, showing the other students what I got.  I was the only one in the school whose mother was in America.  Once she sent me an American Indian doll.  I was around 7 or 8 years old then.  I loved it, but I wasn’t allowed to play with it.  It had beautiful white and yellow beads and leather moccasins.  It was put in a glass cabinet by my grandmother.  She would allow me to take it out occasionally, but I understood it wasn’t a doll I could play with.  It was a real Indian with a beautiful face and light beige leather clothes with fringe around the skirt.  Another time my mother sent me a pink and blue satin dress with netting that my grandmother made me wear to school.  I was paraded throughout the classrooms in my outfit from America.


My mother would like to have me in her life now that she’s alone and she’s in her seventies, but I can’t do anything about that.  I don’t need her anymore.  I felt that I needed her until I was well into my thirties.  My mother wasn’t there for my marriage or the birth of my children.  I can’t bring myself to go and visit her.  I don’t want to.  It’s too late now.  All the damage is done.


I don’t judge her for what she did.  My mother had her own problems.  I never thought about it much until I was holding my own 8-month-old baby.  I looked at my little girl and thought, “How could she have left me?”  There is never a reason good enough to walk away from a child.  I couldn’t find an answer, except complete selfishness, totally driven by one’s own needs.