Monday, June 24, 2013

Ancestor Worship

I confessed to my husband once that I was never in a hurry to get married and have kids. Both seemed to symbolize leaving my youth behind, like I was hurling myself more quickly towards the grave.

I'm surprised to find that the opposite is true too. Having Claire has connected me to my past in ways that I never could have imagined.

I find myself telling Claire stories of her long gone relatives. “Your great-grandpa made that lamp," I say as I amble around the apartment with her in my arms. “Wait til you see your great-grandma’s Christmas ornaments," as I share what’s in store for her this December. “My gramps used to love to whistle when I was little. I was so jealous that I couldn’t," I reminisce.

When I look at her, I see the line of my grandmother’s chin and the set of her jaw. I pointed this out to my Uncle Dave, as we watched her napping as an infant. He said “Well, when she’s sleeping she looks a lot like Nanny." I said, “Yeah. Nanny sure loved to sleep." We both had a good laugh thinking of days past.

ancestors

My father died when I was young, and my husband has always lamented the fact that he never got to know him. It hasn’t happened yet, but perhaps Claire will have his strong will or display one or more of his mannerisms...then, George can get a glimpse.

Of course, I also see bits of George and myself in her. Finding our shared traits is delightful and warms my heart.

But there is something more significant about seeing generations gone resurrected in my daughter. In her birth, Claire has given me an invaluable look back.


Connect with: Bloglovin'FBTwitterG+Pinterest

32 comments:

  1. Oh I can so relate to this post. We lost my grandmother right before I got pregnant with Lily. I swear to you, Lily sometimes reminds me so much of my grandmother in the things she says and does. It is almost as if my grandmother lived on in Lily. So, yes you are right our kids really do bring the past right back to us in more ways then one!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love hearing stories like this, Janine! It's just such grace!

      Delete
  2. My husband's father died before Allie was born. But her grandmother swears she sees a little too much George in Allie sometimes. Especially when her blue eyes twinkle just so. I believe that is the legacy you write about, how our ancestors live on through our children.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, a legacy! That's the perfect word for it.

      Delete
  3. so much of love ! i'm sure one day she will be surprised to know the fact that a lots of people knew her in a lots of ways .. especially though her mother eyes .. ! she is so cute .. a lots of love and best wishes for her :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nothing is more fun that trying to find long-gone traits in your kids. And grandkids. Sometimes, it seems that all I ever do is spend my life in the past, then reminiscing about it to my kids. Wait. That IS what I do! :) Thank you for sharing this today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are lucky to have you as a grandma, Diane! Such a story-teller!

      Delete
  5. I can relate to this too. Since I've moved continents I feel not only chronologically but geographically removed from my past, my childhood, the family that stayed behind. It makes me so happy to see a facial expression of my grandma's sister on my four year old's face. There's nothing quite like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have my family near. I can't imagine how hard it must be to be so far. I'm glad that you have those reminders, Katia!

      Delete
  6. Isn't it strange how much our perceptions of our families change once we see likenesses and mannerisms of relatives in our children? I love that you tell Claire about your gramps. I think it's important for kids to understand where they came from and have a bigger understanding of the evolution of life. I remember being fascinated about my grandparents' lives as a young child, and then basically blowing off the importance until my mid-20's. For me, an extra layer is there as I only just recently met my birth mother and have had a chance to study nature vs. nurture more. Family is terrible and wonderful. It's nothing short of amazingly beautiful when we see our past reflected in our futures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that it's important for kids to know where the came from and to understand that there were people who helped form their parents. I can't even imagine meeting your birth mom in your 20's! I hope you will write about it someday.

      Delete
  7. I am so incredibly fascinated by Henry's resemblance to his forebears! Different things from different people - me, him, his mom, my dad. And when I see how the kids of my friends look EXACTLY like them, I still can't believe it, even though, well, obviously they would look like their parents!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. It fascinates me too. It should just be logical, right? But it's still somehow magical!

      Delete
  8. This is so lovely. It's so nice to be connected to our past through our future. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. My daughter looks very much like my paternal grandmother, who lived to the ripe old age of 93. Sadly, she never got to meet her great grandchild. But it is so much fun to look at old pictures of her and see how much she and my daughter resemble each other!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 93 is awesome! I love that she is living on! It truly amazes me.

      Delete
  10. What a sweet, poignant post.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There's really a strong resemblance between you and your grandmother, too! It's uncanny. I really don't look like any of my family. I've wondered if something else could've happened, even though everyone has always sworn otherwise. Good post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss my grandmother terribly! I love seeing old pictures of her and sharing them and seeing her in my daughter!

      Delete
  12. My grandmother was adopted by her step-father at the age of two. We never knew her biological dad. Before she died, she made a photo album for my dad, her only child, and included a photo of her biological dad. He could be my own father's twin... except for the age thing of course. We always wondered where my dad's looks came from, because except for having his mom's smile, he didn't look like anyone on either side. Mystery solved.

    I had my grandma's albums and my dad had not seen the photo in decades. He forgot it existed. I pulled it out a couple months ago and it brought him to tears. The impact of visible identity is so strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This story gave me chills, Karen! What a gift for your husband!

      Delete
  13. Very sweet post and a lovely dedication to your past relatives. Sorry to hear about your dad. He would have been so proud!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your words about my dad made my day. Thank you, Lisa!

      Delete
  14. Beautiful. Kids are so amazing in so many ways...and I love this one. Not only does it take you back, but you're able to pass it forward. I remember learning all the awesome stories about family members passed and teaching them to my son.
    Ps. Kids make you feel younger...like would you ever play in dirt if you didn't have a kid?...ok I totally would...not going to lie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would not be digging in the dirt! But I do agree that kids can make you younger. I have some examples of older too, though!

      Delete
  15. I can totally relate to this. When I look at my boys, I see my late Dad (who sadly died before they were born) in my older son's open smile and great grandma in my little man's round face. My husband's family think my youngest looks like their side of the family, my husband's grandma. It is fascinating, isn't it, how we carry the genes through generations

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am so the same and where i had no time for my past before my children i must bring it up at some point everyday!

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's funny how we all do this. My husband almost broke a lamp the other day and I yelled "No! That lamp is almost 50 years old!" of course he said "So?" That's when i told my son the story of my grandfather hiding balloons on top of that lamp when he would visit, I was so small I couldn't see up there, and so they seemed to appear magically. One day I climbed the sofa, just to see. And that's when I discovered the secret. I wasn't disappointed, just excited that there were more balloons!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...