One of the great things about being a part of a community like World Moms Blog, is the diversity. Every day (okay, once or twice a week when I can finally catch up) readers are given treasured glimpses into a culture much different from their own. I read stories from all over the world, learning about the traditions these mothers have taken from their own heritage and brought into the lives of their children.
I’m left to wonder: what have I brought from my heritage to share with my own child?
I am a North American. Born and raised in California, now living in Nevada. My parents were born in Missouri and Pennsylvania. I was raised as a Catholic, though I no longer consider myself one. My ancestors mostly hail from Italy, England, and Ireland. This is what I believe constitutes as my heritage.
The things from my background that I share with my son, are the things that I feel have become very typical of a North American child. We celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year in the winter; Easter in the spring; Fourth of July in the summer; and Halloween and Thanksgiving in the autumn. I have taken the religious meaning out of those holidays generally considered holy and made them into celebrations of the season, our family, our lives.
As for traditions, I’m afraid I don’t have any. I have been teaching my son nothing of where we come from. He doesn’t know that our family had to change their name when they arrived in America because theirs was too complicated. I sat here trying to think of another example of something he doesn’t know, but I couldn’t come up with anything else.
Maybe the problem is that I don’t know enough about my ancestry. I don’t know enough about where we are from.
When I was a senior in high school, I took Sociology as an elective. Our final project was to make a family history. We were to interview as many family members as possible, write about their stories and their lives, and put it all together in a book with photographs. Typical of me, I waited until the last minute. The night before it was due, I scrambled around typing up what I knew of each family member, flipping through photo albums to find at least a picture or two of everyone, and throwing together a pathetic excuse for a family history.
I think I got a B.
I know that “hindsight is always 20/20”, but I really wish I had done the complete project. I remember I had actually interviewed my maternal grandfather for that project, but I don’t know what I did with any of the notes. He told me stories of his time in the military. Now that he’s passed on, I wish I could remember them.
Imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to flip through this family history and tell my son all of the stories from his family. Imagine how exciting it would be showing him pictures of his family celebrating traditions that we still celebrate today.
This is why I blog. This is why I write. I am writing our history as it happens, so that one day my son will be able to pass on our stories to his children. And their children. And maybe, through this written history, traditions will emerge that I never even realized.
How do you pass on family stories and traditions to your own children?
Photo credit to Alia Moore, with permission.