So apparently I’m not done talking about the family yet. I have been holding onto this one for a very long time. After a long bit, I had an opportunity to spend some time with my dad. Those who know me well, know that this is unusual. However, I did realize many things because of it. I got to see so much I had not in the years past. Whenever I get asked if I had a time machine would I visit the past or the future? My answer is always; the past. The future is coming. It’s right in front of me. I can shape it, I can predict it even to some extent. I’m interested in how I got here. I’m interested in ’seeing’ the stories I grew up on. I’m interested in knowing which conspiracy theories are real, and which ones are just that. There is so much in the details that we’ve missed from our past because the historians and storytellers are only human after all. I’m interested in history from my perspective. Strangely enough, historians don’t write books solely for me, go figure.
My father, and I have had a very turbulent relationship. He came around every few years and tried to be a dad. I really wasn’t ready to be a daughter. In his defense though; he had a bunch of other kids who were bending to his every will so he really didn’t understand what was going on with me. What was happening is that I don’t do things because I’m “told”. I do things because…well… they need to get done. How and when really isn’t anyone else’s business.
Nevertheless, he is where my history lies, he is where my story begins whether I like it or not. Don’t like it very much right now as that puts me in a position where I have to admit so many things I don’t really want to, egos are big around here.
So now that we’re all caught up I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m realizing that my parents are probably my only living connection to my past.
I’ve heard all my mom’s stories. Many times over. Honestly, now they’re starting to change to her mood and the situation.
My dad and I haven’t shared much so when he mentions his life, and his parents it’s all new. So many pieces of my life, of my legacy that should have been passed down to me, are completely foreign. I don’t know anything about him. When he passes I feel his name in all its glory will pass with him because he didn’t share.
I didn’t mean to sound as brutal as I just did. Isn’t it the truth though? People die. Fade into nothingness from this world, the only thing that is left is the stories, and memories they leave behind. Those stories turn into legends and become history. That becomes our history. This can only happen if people are willing to tell their story out loud on every turn.
When I talk about my past I’m extremely candid. Not because I like talking about myself, which I most certainly do, but I want people to know where I came from, and after I’m gone when they deal with my children, and my future generations, they know who they are. So my children know who they are.
Anyways, this time around he had some little details here and there that he mentioned. He talked about the important historical events that he was able to witness as a young man. I had no idea he had seen so much. He has lived in a time before electricity was widely provided. He’s seen how people cooked on stoves without gas, using wood and other materials. There are many traditional things exclusive to our side of the world that even living here we don’t see anymore. Those who lived through that time are slowly vanishing. I’m afraid with them those traditions and customs will vanish too.
I know, you’re probably thinking since when do you care about tradition and customs? I thought I didn’t. Talking to the elders of my family and my father made me realize that I do care. I want to stay connected. I want my children to know what they are a part of.
I’m a great believer in making new traditions and values that mesh with the time we’re living in. I’m not, however, in favor of losing who we are as a collective. Whatever we make of ourselves now comes from, and is attached to what we have been for thousands of years. All of this has a HUGE part in the construction of our reality. I believe we will be incomplete people raising incomplete generations without a strong connection to our past.
Maybe that’s what happened to me. My disconnect from my culture also me feeling alien in it most times perhaps came from the same place. My legacy wasn’t passed down. I wasn’t taught our ways and then told to decide how I wanted to modify them for my time and generation. I had no direction for any customs or a system. I followed what felt right (and I still stand by those ideas BTW) many times it was not what my people and my legacy would have demanded. As time went by that became my culture, my custom.
Here we are today with a new world trying to learn everything all over again while we teach it to our kids. While I want them to explore the world. I want them to know there is so much out there they can choose from. They are not in any way limited to the life I have lived or experiences I have had. I truly feel I was blessed because I got to experience more than what was right in front of me. I wiggled my way around and looked beyond to see what’s waiting out in the world because the world in front of me didn’t seem important enough.
The only thing that I would want my kids to do differently is to recognize that what is in front of them is not unimportant. I would want them to ground themselves in what’s right in front of them because they will not find that love and respect anywhere in the world only because we worked hard to grow it here for them. After that I want them to go out explore, find a lifestyle that works for them. It would be silly to assume that their lifestyle would be similar to ours because we are generations apart. Also, I pray we are not in the same place for too long for everyone’s sanity.
To wrap this up, home is home. We have to improve on it by adding to it. Flares of change are important, along with always remembering and keeping our own essence.
We do that by sharing our lives with our family. Sharing our history. Sharing our legends. Sharing who we are. Who we have been. We all have great histories to pass on. Great adventures that can turn into awesome bedtime stories, I personally think that’s a wonderful place to start.