“We got married four years ago. When my future mother-in-law found out who my parents were, she took my husband, Yaroslav, into the kitchen and started talking to him loudly enough for me to hear. Her main complaint was about my mother.
It was true that my mother had an alcohol problem, but what did that have to do with me? As long as my grandmother was alive, my life was fairly stable.
So, I didn’t end up in foster care because my grandmother stayed with me. But why should I be judged for having a mother like mine?
Yaroslav and I started dating right after my high school graduation. He had just finished university that year, and I had enrolled in a technical college.
They couldn’t accept me into the college dorms because my registered address was in the same city.
However, staying at home became unbearable because my grandmother passed away that year.
When Yaroslav proposed to me, I accepted. ‘Mom,’ he said four years ago, ‘if you’re against our marriage, know that we’ll get married anyway, but we’ll move into a rented apartment.’ Eventually, his mother seemed to accept or pretended to.
She still had a lot of complaints about me. I asked my husband to find a separate place for us, but he didn’t want to.
Even after the birth of our grandchildren, she didn’t change her attitude toward me.
Life became increasingly difficult for me. I switched to part-time studies, but it became too challenging.
No one wanted to take care of the child so I could take my exams. Yaroslav started coming home later and later, and then I found out he was having an affair.
I packed my bags and left. Without a destination. I sat at the bus station with my daughter and a bag, not knowing what to do next.
A kind grandmother approached me and asked, ‘What happened, dear?’ She reminded me so much of my own grandmother, not in appearance but in her simplicity and kind eyes.
Grandma Hanna took me to her village.
It was a small village of about 20 houses, far from the district center and the conveniences of civilization.
I lived with her for three years, learned how to milk goats, mow hay, tend to the garden, and bake bread. My daughter calls her grandmother.
Now, I’m leaving for the neighboring village to marry Grandma Hanna’s nephew.
Recently, my mother passed away, and there was nothing holding me back from returning to the city and my apartment.
But I left it to the tenants, and I haven’t gone anywhere. I decided to stay here, where I found a real family.”