Every day I am reminded of where I came from and how I became the way I am today. Reminders come in all shapes and forms – a glance in a mirror revealing features passed down through the generations, pictures carefully framed throughout my house of those who have passed and of those still with us, a phone call from a loved one, or simply through the tasks that I do every day that I have learned/inherited from various family members.
We all take on traits – good and bad – of those who have touched our lives and I am thankful for what I have been given. I may never be 100% happy with who I am or what I look like, but I’m finding more peace with things as I get older and think of how I want to raise my own daughter. After all, when I look in the mirror and see my pale skin and freckles, that I used to be embarrassed by, I know that these are the same features of my mom, dad, sister and grandma. When I look at my reddish hair, I’m reminded of my dad and dear dear grandmother. When I rub lotion on my hands, I see my mom’s hands that I used to study so much in church. When I notice that I’m the shortest person in a room, I remember that I’m actually the tall one in the family. When I bake a pie or sit at the sewing machine making garments or things for our house, I’m reminded of my grandmother who taught me what I know. When I take out the hot glue gun, I remember how my grandmother taught my sister and I crafts over a summer in Arizona. When I hold a camera in my hand, I think of my uncle who gave me my very first SLR – Pentax K1000 – and am so grateful of that gift that shaped my career as a photographer. When I look at old articles that I wrote for various newspapers, I think of my great grandmother who was also a journalist. When people make fun of how I enunciate certain words, I’m proud because it’s how my family talks. When I look at my upward sloped nose, I see my grandmother. When I put on lipstick, I think of how my grandmother always put on her red Avon lipstick whenever she stepped out of the house. When I smell coffee I think of my grandfather with his big tin of Folgers and my grandmother’s pot of coffee peculating throughout the day on the stovetop. The smell of cigars always bring up fond memories of my grandfather who was a such a hard worker, had lots of patience and always gave valuable advice. What’s funny to me, is that a lot of the traits that I admire from my family members are the exact traits that attracted me to my husband, which is a good thing because it means that we’ll be passing those things down to our daughter Lily.
I am so proud of where I came from and those who paved the way for me. I’m not saying that we don’t have faults, because we certainly do, but I embrace it all. It’s all a part of me! And for that…I’m thankful.