The interesting thing about our heritage is that we don’t get to choose it, it’s been selected for us and we have to wear and share it forward, or it ends.
Today, May 20 would’ve been my dad’s 84th birthday. I was looking for a photo to post on Facebook and I found a flash drive loaded with photos I had scanned on a visit home in August ‘11. I found family photos ranging from before I was born until my early twenties. It brought back memories. I remember that trip home as if it was the other day. Where have I been? – August ‘11.
One of the photos I found was my parent’s wedding photo. They were married September 1, 1960. It was the same date as my mother’s parents wedding date 33 years before. I came along a little more than a year later in November 1961. Then seventeen months later, brother #1, and seventeen months after that, brother #2. When I was 13, my parents divorced and it was the four of us – mom and her three boys – all within three years of each other. Looking back, I honestly don’t know my mother survived with three teenage boys for almost a dozen years.
My dad passed away almost seven years ago in July ‘09 and every birthday – May 20 – since has been a little bit different. Odd and out of sorts. A couple of years ago, I realized the irony of my dad’s birthday and the anniversary of Levi Strauss’s patent and last week I celebrated my mother and Mother’s Day.
It’s who I am and they made me what I am. It’s the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny. And a few more adjectives. They’re my heritage and it’s my responsibility to pay it forward to my children.
Abraham Lincoln wrote,
“The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.”
I am who I am because of who raised me and who taught me to be the person I became. And I have raised my children with an eye on the past, too. Heritage.
Earlier this afternoon, I called my mom to say hello and fact check the photo. It’s her dad’s mom between her mom and dad – my great grandmother. It was good to hear her voice. While were talking, she remarked she and her sister are the only ones still living from the photo of that day. I could almost hear her thinking – heritage.
Today was one of those days when looking back took almost as much time as looking ahead and living the present. It’s been a great day and the few hours that remain are gonna be great, too. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one more piece of my heritage added and connected to the past.
Do you have days when you look back?
Today’s post is inspired by LAST week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage. This week, share a photo of something that says “heritage” to you. It can be from your own family or culture — a library, a work of public art, a place of worship, an object passed down to you from previous generations. Or, like me, you can choose to focus on a tradition to which you don’t belong, but to which you’ve been exposed whether through travel, moving, or the people in your life.
I look forward to seeing your take on this theme!