I was born into this very large extended family who arrived from Ireland in the 1800’s and upon one branch of that family tree the stork left me many years ago. How does that branch fit with the others? What stories explain why Uncle So and So was a bad apple and Cousin What’s-Her-Name was such an anomaly in the 20’s?
My father died when I was quite young and there are many things I never learned about his family. I’ve always wanted to fill in those blanks and today was the day to get some answers and gain some perspective.
And as I listened to my Aunt fill in the names and help me sort out the relationships, I found myself feeling part of something so much larger than just me and my immediate family.
In 1899 a great Aunt was widowed with two young boys and left to run a farm. Not only did she succeed in running the farm (it’s still productive today), but both boys went to a major university. One decided to keep the farm going and the other went off to Harvard Law. That is pretty impressive for a single mother in the early 1900’s.
What was her life like? How high was her stress level? What did she have to do and learn to run the farm successfully? Did she ever get a chance to take time for herself.
As I thought of all those ancestors I had never even known , and obviously had never met, I wondered what part of them was still in me. What had they learned that was passed along in the DNA of the family?
One of my new stress busting techniques is to step back and remember that I am part of a long line of people who struggled, succeeded and failed, lived and loved and survived the stressors of their day and age. It’s all about perspective.
In the big scheme of things there are stress blips on my radar screen that are simply recycled stress blips from the family legacy. They are part of life in any century. And what I learn about life and stress will be part of another’s radar screen one day. When one of my descendants looks at our family tree, I hope she will de-stress by gaining perspective from seeing the bigger picture of life and its significance and take time for herself to wonder.
Take good care,