I have had the pleasure of spending this weekend with my mom and dad to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early since I will be out of town next weekend. I got to spend quality time with them that brought a reminder to light that also showed itself a couple weeks ago.
When we were preparing for our trip to North Carolina for my dad’s 80th birthday with all the family, my mom called and asked me if I had my grandmother’s baked bean recipe as she could not find hers. I searched, but it appeared that I did not have it as well. Knowing that we lost grandma a couple of years ago, I suddenly realized that if neither of us could find it, it was lost forever as she was no longer there for us to ask.
This weekend, mom, dad and I got into a similar conversation and were talking about the fact that as we are now older, many of the people that we would like to ask things about regarding our family are now gone. With them goes the memories and a lot of the family history that we could no longer find. In many cases, they don’t even have to be gone. They could be still alive and suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other ailments that rob them of their memories.
While the subject may not be very uplifting, the beautiful part is that for those that are lucky enough to have family members still around to answer our questions, there is still the opportunity to learn what we want to know. The question is whether or not we take the time to actually sit down with them and ask?
Think about some of your recent family visits. Are they spent exchanging the normal pleasantries and then you just do what you need to do to get through it so you can move on and go on about your own life. Or, do you take the time to actually sit down and have a conversation and learn all there is to know about them, your history and their lives before you no longer have the opportunity to do that. In doing that yesterday, I learned things I never even knew, which was wonderful.
For many, things have happened within their family circles that have estranged them from the ones that they were once close to. Often, there is good reason why those chasm’s have been created. However, at some point we have to ask ourselves if it is worth the risk of waiting and taking the chance that they will no longer be there to repair what we might not think repairable. We can only do that when it is right for us and we know it in our heart. But sometimes changes in circumstances, being out of bad situations and time allow healing that gives us the strength to make that move before we no longer have the opportunity.
Do you have a little family history that you want you want to know? It is often only a phone call or a visit away. Make the effort to have the conversation and remember to ask. Sometimes you will learn things that you never even knew that can be used to enrich your own lives. I am thankful that I still have that opportunity and plan to ask all the questions I can, while I can.
Have a great Sunday and remember to be the reason someone smiles.