I was fortunate. I grew up in a household with two parents with very different cultures but the same values. Both valued nature and respected all life forms. Dad's "bird hunting" consisted of carrying a rifle through the woods, enjoying watching the dog flush out the game birds, but never actually bringing one home. Back at home, mom as hand-feeding the squirrels that climbed the screen door, looking for peanuts. We all brought home birds that fell from their nests, roadkill that needed burial and so forth. But mom and I shared a special love of watching the birds that came to the feeder. And every summer, the week or two dad lived for would come and we'd pack up and head to the woods he had grown up in where there was an amazing variety of things that fly. As time went on, mom had to remain in a wheelchair on oxygen. She taught herself needle work. I still have many of the pictures she created. Pictures of delicate butterflies and regal hawks and eagles. They hang in the old cabin and in my home.
A few years back, I was nearing retirement and looking forward to remaining in my big home in a big city. Then, I was given a choice: take custody of my then 1 1/2 year old granddaughter or see her sent to foster care. We did ok at first, she, I and my son. We juggled his school and my two jobs, though at times not so well. Then my daughter announced another pregnancy. And I had to start thinking about schooling for two little girls. The city was no place for them. So I packed them up, and my son, for which I am so grateful, also packed up and we moved to my "ancestral home". Then there was another pregnancy and another call about foster care. I made the 12 hour drive to get her, stayed overnight at a hotel and drove back. Hawks flew along side the car most of the way back down the old country highways. The little one-bedroom house on the river suddenly seemed too small, porch and outbuildings or no. So we moved from my late dad's place to a little mobile home with a pond and some acreage and fruit trees. We were living on the same road as my grandfather's generation had and I was pleased with the knowledge that "we" had returned - the girls would be the 7th generation here.
For me, #me too began in a flower shop in about 1974. We didn't call it that back then, of course. In fact, we didn't talk about such things much at all. I started looking for work as a very shapely, older-looking 14 year old in a large urban area. I did so not because we were living in poverty. Quite the opposite: my dad owned a very successful business. But I was bright and independent. Perhaps too much so for my own good. School bored me to tears - I could maintain straight A's while going to every class high. And dad and I could not get along - at all. We would fight for hours - literally and very loudly - most days when he came home, and especially if he had been drinking, which was at least once a week. It brought my dear mother to tears and entertained my brothers and friends and neighbors as they sat outside under the windows. It wasn't that we didn't love each other. I was the eldest child and only daughter and the apple of dad's eye. I was just growing up too fast and he was trying to put the brakes on a runaway train. I needed to escape and there was only one honorable and allowable way to do so - get a job.