Family Connection — Another Reason To Write Our Memories 14

On Thursday, I became a grandmother — again. My daughter’s first child and my sixth grandchild arrived quickly while I, three states away, frantically booked a flight and drove to the airport knowing I would probably not make it in time. I have been present for three of my grandchildren’s births and there is an unreasonable part of me that wants to be present and an integral part of all my grandchildren’s lives.

Unreasonable because my children and grandchildren, are scattered throughout California, Texas, and Utah. Unreasonable because the very idea of close extended family seems to be as antiquated as horse drawn carriages. Unreasonable because my children’s and grandchildren’s lives are not about me or what I want — they have their own desires and their own paths to walk.

So, instead of weekends at Nana’s house, we have Facebook and Facetime, email and Twitter and instant messages, family connections reduced to “Likes” and “Comments” and “Shares.” I appreciate and make use of all technology has to offer; still, I can’t help feeling that our interactions are more shallow than I would like.

As I waited at the airport to board, I remembered my mother speaking with nostalgia about growing up in the midst of a large extended family, and lamenting the demise of big family gatherings. Finally, after a long day of travel (thank goodness we’re not still traveling by horse and buggy!) I arrived at the birthing center to give my daughter a kiss and peer into the sleepy eyes of the newest member of our family. She was warm and pink, exuding that indescribably musky-sweet newborn perfume; I put my face close to hers and inhaled deeply.

How my own infants could have grown and become parents themselves, and how I could now have six grandchildren, is a mystery to me, a source of wonder and astonishment. And so is our connection — a connection so earth-rooted and basic that it seems infused into my bone marrow.

I think about our future, this new little granddaughter and mine. Unless something changes, ours will be a relationship mostly defined by birthdays and Thanksgivings and Christmases — separated by a geological divide that may be unique to American culture. I might not have the opportunity to personally pass on my stories and life lessons to her or my other grandchildren.

I would like my children and grandchildren to know me, to understand the context in which I grew up, and perhaps as a result, to know a little more about themselves. Which is why it feels more important than ever to continue writing my life stories and experiences and reflections.

What about you? What of your life experiences and knowledge and wisdom do you want to pass along?

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14 thoughts on “Family Connection — Another Reason To Write Our Memories

  • Ann

    Love this! It resonates with me, and as a blogger who stays under the radar, folks ask me why I don’t put myself out there more. I write to express who I am and what’s important to me, not to garner a following. For me, writing isn’t about the need to know what others think. Your post expressed my interest in writing just perfectly.

  • RYCJ

    …Many writers have no idea of those who need, and do READ our stories as well. I just got a lil excited her because I am holding the very book you’re giving away! How ironic!

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      RYCJ, so true … we don’t know who needs or will resonate with what we write. I suppose that’s part of the reason I do put my writing out into the world. There’s a part of me that believes my experience will resonate with and touch others in some way. I know it works the other way around, when I read others’ writing.

      And of course, I hope my memoir moves you in some way and that you enjoy reading it. Please stay in touch and let me know.

  • Sharon Lippincott

    I so understand your geographical dilemma, Amber. I also have three children dotted around the west. My nearest is in Austin, a three day drive from Pittsburgh. The others are on the west coast. They were and remain my primary reason for writing memoir, most of which will never be seen by the public. With the growing frenzy and rush to self-publish with POD and eBooks, I fear this personal aspect may be getting lost. Thanks for helping keep a bead on it.

  • patsy ann taylor

    I was a long-distance grandmother too. Our daughter kept us close to the grandchildren by talking with them about us and keeping pictures nearby. And by frequent telephone calls. YES the phone. The personal is too often lost with “texting” and other techie methods. The sound of a baby breathing into the receiver is a thrill and those first attempts at real words follow. Now, of course, we all live in the same city. But I remember those early years with much joy.
    Congratulations, Grandmother!!

  • Jules

    Oh so sweet to hold a newborn babe! 🙂 What joy!! I’m happy for you!

    We are the last of my husband’s family to run the family farm (4 generations) so I hope that my journals will offer the future generations a peek back at what it was like in 2014. His grandfather kept a small journal where he only wrote a sentence or 2 each day. Maybe only the temperature. This was once he had moved to town and was not farming. But it is adoring to read their excitement that they’d get to have the little grandson (my husband) over for babysitting that day or such. I hope someone cares that I have journaled one day too.

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      Thank you, Jules. A newborn baby is a true joy to hold, so warm and sweet :-). I love that you’re keeping journals about what it’s like to run a family farm in 2014 (and earlier). What a wonderful legacy you are creating for your family!

  • Barbara Toboni

    I’m hoping my grown sons will some day want to read my old poetry and personal journals to get more of a sense of my inner life. Every now and then I think I should throw out a few of the more personal diary type journals because there are some entries that are too ambiguous, too whiny, or too poorly written, but my boys know I am not perfect. I wish I had recorded my experiences more eloquently, but one can’t go back and change things. My sons would see right through the sweet talk because they were along for most of the ride. And, if I taught them anything, I am hoping I have taught them to be honest with their feelings.

  • Patti

    I am new to your blog, and I am loving it. As the self-appointed genealogist/historian for my family, I gravitate to sites like yours.

    I have fond memories of growing up within walking distance of both sets of grandparents. Because we lived so close, I saw them often, and I consider that song “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” to be my tribute to, especially, my paternal grands.

    Anyhow, my own children are still in the home, but probably will not be for much longer. I am hopeful that they will live near enough that I can be to my grandchildren what my grandparents were to me. But even if they live far away, they (and the generations to come after them) are the reason I am recording my childhood memories.

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      Hi Patti, and welcome to WritingThroughLife! How fortunate are are to have had such a close relationship with your grandparents. And kudos for thinking ahead and writing those memories and stories for your children and grandchildren to come. 🙂