Family History

Does knowing about your family history change who you are?
Does it change your perspective on your life or your interactions?
Should it have an effect at all?
What was your life like before you knew this information?
How can you use your history for good?
Who are you: a copy or something new?

Hey, how are you?
Honestly, let me know.

Me? I’m doing alright. I’ve been thinking a lot. I said farewell to my father and friend the other day, both going home to other loved ones. However, before my father left, I asked about our family history. I know, a loaded question for the morning before travel – forgive me. I just don’t know a lot about our family tree.
It may just be blood binding us together; it may just be marriage, but I’d like to think of it as fate. There is a reason we all ended up related, yet not knowing much about each other.
I want to learn more about my history because I want to know what makes me – me. It may seem silly, I feel a little silly writing it right now, but you never know. There is a chance that my great great great uncle was a gifted clock-maker, and I just haven’t had any luck fixing clocks yet. Who knows.
My father revealed new truths, I acknowledged new perspectives, and I learned more about my family’s history. My family isn’t perfect; I knew that. We are troubled and wacky and depressed and kind and hopeful but also disjointed. We don’t function like one family tree; we are more like an orchard. I am a descendant of plum trees while my second cousins are juniper trees a few rows down. We are all together in this one plot of land but separate.
I have heard of family reunions – generations coming together to share in a picnic lunch of watermelon and pasta salad. When I was younger, I thought, “when will we have a family reunion?” Unconsciously, I thought something could bring us all together, even for just a few hours. A pipe dream, maybe (definitely). Who knows, maybe I’ll meet my Californian family, my extended polish family, or find my Jersey roots. There is time.
I have spent this past Sunday afternoon on a park bench, pondering life. I asked myself the questions I listed out above. I want to know if I am taking on the stories of my family members as my own, or just processing their lives. I came to some realizations, and I had more unanswered questions.
Life is complex; families are more complex. They are always changing and growing in unexpecting, startling, and strange ways.

Well, I think that’s all I got.

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