Friday, January 8, 2010
When my mother died almost 3 years ago, I inherited (well...actually I just took it) Mimi's 'treasure box'. It is a hand painted box filled with old photographs, letters, post cards and newspaper clippings. There are family photographs dating back to the 1800s, a lock of hair from my mother's first haircut in 1929 and a handkerchief that was tucked into the garters of dozens of brides in our family (some more than once). The most bizarre ( and I think totally cool) thing in the treasure box is a container with a piece of my grandparent's wedding cake, there is a note with it that reads "Mother and Father's wedding cake March 18, 1914".
These family treasures mean the world to me. To see photographs of my grandmother and her parents and even her grandparents is a real thrill for me and the connection I feel to the people in the photographs is undeniable. And maybe it's also kind of weird as well. When I look at the photographs and remember the stories I know about the people in them, I am aware that, biologically, they are not my relatives and ancestors. Yet I do consider them my ancestors and a link to a past that affects me. I can't help but look at the faces of my great grandparents and know that they loved and nurtured my beloved Mimi, and that she in turn nurtured and loved my dear mother, who impacted me and still affects me in countless ways. I feel the same way about my father's family, they are my people, and have impacted my life more than biology ever could.
I know many people believe that 'blood is thicker than water' but I disagree. For me blood is not thicker than water, but love truly is.