We are the culmination of those who have come before us. Not just the tightly packed DNA but our memories too. When I pin my hair into a French twist I can see my great grandmother Mama at her vanity table. Though her hair was thin and white and her hands long and slender, I see her when I sit at my own vanity.
When I see my full lips and my child sized hands I think of my father’s mother. My Yaya was a quiet woman pleasant woman. I know that some of her lives on in me too.
I’m sure I take my tea sweet because of my mother’s mother. Grandmommy was statuesque and glamorous and reserved. Always with a ready smile. I think of her most of all as I see the goose grow. In my child I am privy to secrets. Grandmommy always held her cards close to the vest too. that i am allowed in with my child is more rewarding than i can express.
My tendency toward the self deprecating comes from my father. because of him I can keep my chin up when I know there will be no sun to dance across my freckled nose. His gift is a strident self assurance. There are days when this can also be a curse, but nothing clears a room faster than a woman with a sharp wit and a loud cackle. Most often, those left are the solid people one can lean on.
From my mother I have learned that no child is too big to sit in their mother’s lap. That knowing has been my savior on more than one occasion. Also it was her voice I heard in my head when walking the thin line between right and wrong as a younger person. I pray my children hear my voice now. I hope it sounds to them like the voice of reason. Not than grating whine I sometimes hear myself when making demands of them.
I do my best to honor these people. to insure that their gifts are not wasted on me. There has been much talk lately about teaching through example. I have had some wonderful teachers and can attest to this importance. I wish for all to be so lucky. As in everything I do, I believe when we are given gifts, it is our duty to make a gift of our own. I hope I can make the people I meet feel as relevant as I have been lucky enough to feel myself.
No matter what you believe, this time of year is about a new chance. An opportunity to get something right. To give of yourself. To help heal someone in need. A gift given is a gift received. We are all part of the same whole. It is through this understanding that we can learn and grow.
I don’t care if you like your guns. I don’t care if you love God or Ja or Mohammed or Krishna. I don’t care about the thickness of your wallet. I don’t care about the color of your skin. It only matters to me that you believe in the inherent worth of all living things and teach your children to believe the same. We can not look externally to fix the problems of the world. It starts from within.
Be good to one another. I wish for you all a happy new year.E