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The influence of our elders

I have a dream life.  Not gonna lie.  Is it perfect?  NO.  But do I recognize I’m blessed on many levels… Yes..

I was watching Moana (Disney animated film) and I cry every time.  EVERY.TIME…. My kids wonder why I can’t dial it down, but as I was watching (again) tonight I realize that the reason I love this movie (and what parallels with mine) is the BONDS OF FAMILY.

I was talking to a neighbor boy not long ago, and I asked him about his heritage (I may have blogged this before).  He didn’t REALLY know the answer.  I asked, “Well, don’t your parents tell stories about your family?”  He pondered for a minute and said, “No, not really”.

And I was dumbstruck.

I can handle when someone tells me they don’t sing in the car with their kids like we do.  That’s a unique love.  But HERITAGE….and history of family… that should be a MUST in every family!

I love writing, and I don’t know why.  I’m not a college graduate, I hated school, so my ability to write and actually engage people is a little beyond my comprehension.  All I know is I love stories, and my mind is constantly dissecting moments and emotions of life.

And as I was watching Moana, it kind of hit me that my story loving started way back….with my family!

As far back as I can remember, there were stories.  Mom was first generation Irish American (her parents came with an Irish Brogue) and my Dad was first generation Romanian-American.

I….ladies and gentleman…am a 50/50 bar… Half Irish and half Romanian.  A bat shit crazy combo if you ask me!  WHICH…explains so much about me….

That said, I have stories of the meeting of both my grandparents.  Dad’s parents were united over a bottle of whiskey… or so it was said.  My Moshu, Traiaon (aka Thomas) supposedly bought my grandmother, Helena (or Lena, whom is half my namesake) for a bottle of whiskey.  My Grandmother was 16 and my grandfather, twice her age a 32.  Gross, I know…but those were the times.  Grandma Lena was told in 8th grade that she was too big for school and should stay home and ‘punch bread’ with the family.  That said, I understand she was a smart woman, witty and strong-willed.

My Grandfather was a bit of a philanderer of sorts and had is attention on the younger women.  Not a glowing story, but it’s ours…..

My mom’s parents a had a gentler story.  A bit more romantic.  They were quiet people yet witty with humor and God-fearing, dutiful people.

I never met my dad’s mom as she died before I was born… just as my daughters don’t know my dad as he passed before they were born.

But they know my dad.  And they know my grandparents on both sides.  Because there are stories…

I can’t imagine not knowing about my grandparents.   Or my parents for that matter.  I know that when my parents met, my dad’s family was well-known as…  ummm… okay, crazy.  A nutty family were the Mesaros’.  So when my dad saw my mom at a dance and asked her if she wanted a cigarette…it was no surprise that she looked at the cigarettes, and then my dad and said, “That’s not my brand” and dismissed him with nary a glance.

Dad’s persistence paid off.  And I’m glad it did.  If not, I wouldn’t be here conveying my thoughts and imploring you to ask more questions about your life.

We are the sum of our experiences and all that came before us.

My children are blessed because they have their grandparents in their lives.  And each grandparent is distinctly different.  Each relationship with grandparent and grandchild has its own flavor.  My children see the variety in how their parents were raised based on the grandparents.

Having those extended relationships enriches who my children are.  And I am grateful.

I know that not everyone has the storybook life.  But what I appreciate in each of the relationships with my kids and their grandparents is my children respect each grandparent for who they are and appreciate them individually.

In today’s world it’s hard not to live in the moment as if we are all that exist.  That is a one-dimensional approach to life.

I’m very thankful to see that my kids are living in a multidimensional world where they know that the parents who came before their parents forged the way to where they are now.  And my favorite thing about my kids is that, no matter how many times I tell my stories, they are a captive audience.

To be honest, it never dawned on me how I tell stories until my eldest brought her friend on a drive with us and told her friend, “Oh, my mom likes to tell stories”…

I was a little taken aback at the time, and I even asked my daughter if it bothered her …. her simple response was, “No.  I like your stories”.

And that said… my life had become multidimensional in that moment realizing that my stories aren’t just about my history… but my future as well….

Take the time.  Ask the questions.  Find out who you are.