Allow me to welcome you into my crisis for a moment.
Today has been one of those days. I have eaten the topping off two slices of pizza and a few handfuls of peanuts for dinner. Way too many peanuts. Why did I buy these dang peanuts?
The baby awaits, crying. Is she teething? Is she wet? All my investigations are coming up with no answers so here she sits on my knee bouncing up and down while I type with one hand.
My husband has been sick in bed for four days with the plague. Which means all the family responsibilities have fallen to me. Plus my work. Plus the work I am procrastinating. Which means it seems like all the things around me are falling apart in pieces, catching fire, exploding and melting into tiny puddles onto the floor.
Except me. I’m good. I’m gettin’er done. Perhaps its because I’ve been through the grind a couple times, but I now have zero tolerance for losing one’s marbles when crisis erupts.
Life happens. Stuff happens. We experience life and stuff and quite honestly sometimes the best part of celebrating life is embracing who you’ve become at the end of a long journey. And learning to love yourself.
That long struggle — it’s worth something. Don’t despise it. If I can leave any wisdom to my daughters or my niece it would be this one thing: “We come from a long line of nailmakers”. A phrase that has incredible value, guts and meaning to me.
My mom loves to do genealogy. Sometimes I log into her ancestry.com account and check out how far she’s come in her investigations. One night while I was surfing in the database of my maternal ancestry I discovered the story of a family in my lineage who were nailmakers.
Deep in the grimy filth of Black County, is a root of mine. A family of women; mothers, sisters and daughters living one step above being “piss poor”. The nailmakers. Splitting iron by hand. Smelting iron once the technology arrived. How tough do you have to be to stand around smelting all day?
Nailmakers worked hard, had very little, but the work was honest. It was common practise in the Black Country for colliers and ironworkers to marry a nailing wench who was also expected to bring up the children.
These are my people. Women who, despite their circumstances, threw down and got the job done to put food on the table and beer in their bellies. Grimey fighters who didn’t give up when it got too hot or too dirty or too complicated.
Whenever the going gets tough around me I take pride in this. I come from a long line of nailmakers. I am strong to withstand the chaos and the unexpected. I am secure to walk with my head held high despite any obstruction or challenge. Or naysayers and “such others”.
This gives me strength: people will do what they want, say what they want and think what they want. None of that changes who I am becoming. None of that matters to who I am. Because I am the daughter of nailmakers.