A Common Thread
From the day my daughter was born, I had the notion that ended up being confirmed as she grew up; not only did she look like her grandmother, but she also walked her walk and talked her talk. One of my greatest joys. I often catch myself, (and so does she), staring at her and smiling, admiring the way nature helps carry those that have passed, in those who have come along. After all, each of us is formed of those in our family tree who came before us, even going back as far as the beginning of human history, if you want to get more technical.
Today, I look back at my family’s humble roots with great pride. They fought hard to break out of their mold and create opportunities for themselves, their children and future members of the family. They even aided other family members in creating new futures for themselves. As individuals, we are the principal architects of our identity, but who we come from, not necessary where, can play a huge part in who we turn out to be, even if we have no idea what our bloodline is. Of course, that could be positive and/or negative, but I firmly believe that if we recognize a negative trait in us that carried over from a known ancestor, then we can help curb that less positive side of us we may have inherited. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be a member of a family of the same blood line, can get answers to questions about ourselves with a bit more ease. You’re not left to wonder why you are a certain way. It’s eye-opening when my son does or says something in a way that mirrors me. My daughter is very much like her dad in her likes and dislikes when it comes to cuisine. It’s probably a part of what constitutes that sense of family that one gets during a holiday, for example. It’s like being part of a team, a unique team representing your tree and this team keeps evolving, by joining, on occasion, with another, but never leaving anyone behind. I will never know, for example, if my interest in music originated from an ancestor that time, (but not nature), has forgotten. In fact, it’s likely, although I’m not a scholar on the subject, that all your tastes and quirks and talents come from somebody on that tree team you represent.
Over the last few years, in going through my parents’ papers, it’s been a voyage of discovering names from their past, names of family never spoken of. it´s developed in me a desire to trace the tree as far back as possible and that means talking to older surviving members of our family and asking questions and begging for stories, which, in itself, can be both tremendously informative and gratifying. For instance, since my parents have died, I’ve learned so much about them from family and from old friends of theirs. I know them even better now than when they were alive, just by learning stories that they never had the time or inclination to tell. This was an important lesson I learned. In hindsight, I should have been more curious about their stories when they we’re still around to tell them. If at all possible, we should always strive to know who we are, by making time to know who we come from and, even better, to let our children know the stories that they, one day, will appreciate knowing.
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