Wow, cannot hardly believe what starts to happen when you talk to your family.
Unlike the stereotype, when I go visit my family (specifically my mom’s side of the family,) It is about as low-key as it gets. For example, it is not unheard of that we might move a holiday’s celebration to the day after or before the holiday because of all of the plans getting bounce around and everyone being so busy. We succumb to the shuffle and don’t let family take priority. We don’t have any drama, just more than our fair share of spunk and spiciness. We don’t pull any punches, we just tell it how it is.
This low-key nature comes at a price though. The price of all this is that we don’t talk about anything deep. We’ll talk about the local news, which isn’t much in a town of 382 people. We’ll talk about what has gone on with family health. We will never go deep. We will never get personal.
That changed a little this year. I spent most of a day traveling with my mom, step-dad, and wife. I told my mom about my impending sabbatical, I told her about my upcoming counseling appointment, I told here how I’ve been doing for the past bit. Though I was emotional, it went well. We moved on in topics shortly thereafter and kept talking. And we small talked most of the day away or didn’t talk.
I like not talking, it is easier than small talking. A restful silence, when no one is stressed by a lack of conversation, is golden silence for me. I love a golden silence. My mom is good at golden silences. A day of golden silence is wonderful for us. Though, this time we had a 3 hour car ride.
So, my wife, my step-dad, my mom, and I packed up and drove the last leg of our journey to my mom’s family and on the way, it came up about my mom’s early life.
A life I know very little about.
A life I had never really heard about.
I asked about this life.
I asked where she came from.
I asked what she used to do for work.
Where she went to school.
Why she went to these places.
Why she didn’t go do this other thing.
I asked until I was full. Full of joy. Full of emotion. Full of fulfillment.
And my mom told me it all.
Now I have an understanding about myself I’ve never known. I always grew up with my dad working on and fixing cars. My dad always tried to tinker with technology, unsuccessfully. But I had never known what my mom did.
She was a computer programer. (She used punch cards. And a bit of software in the 1990’s)
This changes things.
I’ve never understood why I am so tech savvy and actually enjoy technology to some extent. I’ve never understood why quite a bit of technology comes fairly naturally. I’m no tech genius. I am under 30 and I’ve grown up with technology. This has been my default explanation to myself why I do well with technology, at least better than the generation before me.
Now that I’ve heard my mom’s story, I can believe that there is an inherited natural gifting with technology (or at least a reasonable possibility for natural gifting.)
I have always been entertained by coding, but now I have a reason to give it a try.
I know who my mom is and where she came from.
I can now better understood who I am.
If you have children, sit down right now and set a reminder in your calendar/phone/schedule an email to be sent to yourself. Your children need to know who you are and where you’ve come from. And if your parents are still alive, go ask them where they come from. Take them out to dinner or coffee or go for a walk and ask them, “What is your life’s story.” You might be surprised about what they tell you.
You might better understand who you are because of it.
I admit it, I grew up as a tunnel visioned silver spooned child. I couldn’t see much outside myself.
But now that I can, my life is so much better.
Now that I’ve heard my mom’s story, I can go to counseling and talk about who I am.
I know who my mom is.
I know better who I am.
When are you going to tell your story to your children?
When are you going to ask your parents for their stories?
Living a good story,