By Cheryl Bac
Remembering the old while embracing the newUploaded: Apr 30, 2020
My grandfather and my great aunt both passed away this spring. I’ve enjoyed sharing my memories of them with our kids. My grandfather was a physics teacher, so we’ve been doing lots of science activities. And I remember my great aunt’s vast knowledge of our family history, so we’ve started to introduce our kids to our family tree.
One of our son’s school projects was talking with relatives about their childhoods. He was to look at how their childhoods and his childhood were similar and different. I expected to quickly text my parents and get a short reply back. But, the project ended up being exactly what I needed to grieve and process our relatives’ recent deaths.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been chatting with our relatives more frequently. Sometimes our kids read to their grandparents and little cousin. Sometimes they listen to their great aunt and uncle tell jokes and sometimes they show grandma and grandpa their favorite toys. I’ve enjoyed these conversations greatly and I hope they continue even after the stay at home order ends.
We asked my relatives about their childhoods and I felt so blessed when they quickly wrote back wonderful memories. From building sand castles and snow igloos to summers filled with baseball and an erector set that has been passed down from generation to generation. Our kids are learning when Lego, Barbie and other toys became popular. And how sports, card games, and other hobbies can connect generations.
I’m excited to learn more about my relatives this summer. And I’m taking notes whenever I can. I want these memories to be remembered for years to come. My mom suggested sharing one memory with our kids each night when they go to sleep. I just love that idea. It’s a bit overwhelming to think about sharing our entire family history with our kids, but some of these stories are perfect bedtime stories. What better way to drift off to sleep than thinking about grandma playing with her Barbie dolls or grandpa feeding the chickens on the farm.
So tonight I am going to start a new activity that I hope becomes a new family tradition. We are going to talk about one family memory at night. Not every night, but hopefully a couple times a week. It could be something from my childhood. Something from my parents’ childhood. Something from our ancestors. Or something that our kids remember from their own childhoods. Just a fun family memory that puts a smile on your face. I love that we got the conversation going and I hope we can keep it going for many years to come.