Recognizing our ancestors in us helps us accept and be content with who we become.
I have a story that sits inside. It’s about me. My mother. Her mother. And her mother. Back through the many years. I didn’t know them past my great-grandmother who I was terrified of as a small child. She just sat in her chair mumbling and drooling. Occasionally she’d reach out a hand to me staring at me with foggy, wet eyes. I’d run to my mother hiding my face in her lap. The family would all laugh and my mother would reassure me that Nanny wasn’t going to hurt me. I knew she must have been someone wonderful and special as my mother always held her and kissed her, and her children she lived with took good care of her.
My grandmother, Nan, was quite short and round, all soft love, hugs, and kisses. She worked so hard caring for her family. Always laughing and singing quietly. She barely had a grade three education but it didn’t matter. Not to her husband who adored her or any of her eight girls who loved her as much as any mother could be loved.
My mother, also short and round and all soft love, hugs, and kisses. She too worked hard caring for her family and laughing and singing quietly. Mom had a two-year teacher's certificate and spent her life educating and loving every little one that edged through her door. My dad, brother, and I delight in showing her the love and devotion we feel for her.
Nan died in her 40s of cancer. My mother is in her 80s and misses my father terribly who died of cancer a few short years ago. She still is all soft love, hugs, and kisses and loves to laugh and sing quietly.
Somewhere the mold of soft love, laughter, and singing quietly was broken. I am much taller than my mother and grandmothers back through time. I am not what you’d call soft or quiet. I take after my father in interests and personality. When he died, I felt like I’d lost my voice. Who else could I talk to about the many things we’d discuss and share? Initially, I lost all interest. The books gathered dust. The garden was ignored. The studies languished. I’ve learned a new way to “talk” to my dad, now. No, I don’t believe he’s a ghost or something. I just know him so well that I know how he’d answer and what he’d say, and if I’m uncertain, well, it just becomes an unfinished discussion.
I have discovered with quiet pleasure that I’m not entirely my father’s daughter. As time goes on, I do find my mother and grandmothers making their voices known in me. As I get older, I find my own moments of soft love, the laughter is not quite so loud, and my singing is more frequent and quieter. Being older and a grandmother, having gone through hardships and heartaches, and finding a man who truly loves me and is devoted to me has made me more like my mother and grandmothers back through time. It makes me feel grounded and centered. I’m connected to a living, loving, line of women who, through each generation, love me with soft love, hugs, and kisses making me the woman I am content to be today. A torch I will pass on to my daughter and granddaughters.
Think about your parents and grandparents back through time. What is that connecting line that grounds you and makes you feel centered? I know there are many who are disappointed by their families. But if you look back and look within, it’s there. That connection to ground and center you. Let it wrap itself around you. Every family has a grandmother or grandfather who, at some point in your history, is all soft love, hugs, and kisses. Or you just may be the one to start it.