I wish my dad had kept a journal. Or that I had taken the time to ask more questions or interview him or something. I don’t beat myself up about it. Communication and conversations go both ways but when someone’s gone it feels like you missed your chance and that’s hard.
I feel like previous generations were defined differently than we are. Every generation shares more than the last as we open up more and more. My dad made note of this in a morning conversation we had in Canada once, mentioning how little he knew of his father who died when my dad was only 25.
My mom has kept up with family history pretty well so there’s opportunity to record and ask the questions again. I learned over the last week that my grandfather was in Germany for WWII when I for some reason had thought he had been in North Africa.
I know my kids may read these posts and sometimes consider editing them, but really, why? To soften the truth of life? As a parent, shouldn’t we try to teach our kids through an honest recount of who we are and how we got here? Kids are smart and kids will try and do much of what we did as kids. If by telling the truth they learn something or at the least understand a little more of who I am, I will call that a success.
This has become a wonderful bonus of writing to me. The opportunity to share my ideas with my kids. To say the things in print that I may have a hard time articulating to them in person. That life can be hard. That adults are trying there best, but that life is a constant quest to “try to figure it out”. That talking about feelings and fears and triumphs and failures is what being a person is about. That it’s okay.
We are as a society over protective. I’m not sure if it’s because the world is any more dangerous than the 80’s or if it’s because we just know more about it. I know I am over protective sometimes and I try and let that go. Not haphazard disregard, but letting my kids be kids. There’s no right ways. Only ways.
I’m reaching the point in my life where I start too many stories with “back in my day.” It’s at once hilarious and telling. I think old timers use this as a sort of longing for the past. Of the warm feeling of making out with Duran Duran’s, Save a Prayer playing on a boombox. Of running with scissors. Of pulling a chunk of plywood nailed to 4 pair of roller skate bottoms behind a 10 speed. Of bonfires on the beach at 16 where the cops didn’t get mad because you were drinking or setting things on fire. They were just following up on reports of stolen pallets.
As a parent. Some lessons are taught directly. I can’t tell you a ton of times my mom and dad said “Son, we do this because of this.”
Instead, I absorbed what it meant to be through watching the good and bad unfold before me. I try and do a little more of the former than the latter but history, DNA, and life have a way of repeating themselves. We are our parents and as such, have many of there ways. Silence is a trait I inherited.
I’ll keep trying to share more through direct lessons and speaking up and out and hope they absorb the rest through the powers of historical osmosis and “back in my day” stories.