Friday, May 31, 2013
From the past to the future
With my son scheduled to arrive in about two months I've been thinking a lot about the men in my family who come before him. In a family nearly full of women, including the newest generation with my two nieces and my daughter, I find myself daydreaming about my son and how we hope to raise him. I have the same dreams and hopes and fears as when I was pregnant with Lucia but it's a little different because a boy is a completely new world to me.
My husband is a wonderful father who amazes me every day with his patience and the gentle way he loves and teaches our daughter. When Lucia was first born I felt like I was meeting a new person in him that could only have blossomed by becoming a dad. I watch them now and their incredible rhythm and chemistry and it makes me excited for what's to come when we add a son to our family. I've said before that I often wonder about where Lucia's personality comes from. There are parts of her, like her deep curiosity and inquisitiveness and need to be organized, that most definitely come from me, and her methodical approach to things and calm demeanor (with a small dose of hysterics and drama thanks to me) that absolutely come from her dad. But what about those parts that are simply unexplained?
My father recently gave me a beautiful wrist watch that belonged to my grandfather, Mario and an exquisite pocket watch that belonged to my great grand-father, Miguel Antonio. Mario, who we all called Coco, passed away nearly 11 years ago about one month before my husband proposed to me. I was 24 years old and he was my first grandparent who died and at that point it was only my second experience with the death of someone very close to me (the first being my great-grandmother who passed away during my senior year in college). His death devastated me. I feel so lucky that I knew him so well because my sister and I spent so much of our childhood and adolescence with my family in Argentina. Since he passed away so many years ago my grandmother has filled in many blanks about him and his family and in this way I feel like I know his father, Miguel Antonio, as well. I have all his old ID cards and some papers and I see my grandfather's and father's face in his and I wonder how much of them will live in my son. Lucia knows all about Coco and her recent favorite bedtime story is one that I tell her about my own childhood when he taught me how to ride a bike and I fell and he carried me home. At the end of the story she looks at me and says "And the next day you rode your bike again because Coco said you'll be okay, right Mommy?" When she says that to me I melt in a puddle and I feel like my grandpa is here with me. I've been staring at these beautiful watches, relics of the past filled with stories, wondering so much about the men who wore them.
My hope is that I can pass on as many stories as I can to my children, as well as to create our own, to tell to future generations. This is part of the reason why I'm always taking photos, making books and albums, and writing things down -- because this visual story telling is really our own personal history book. It's very overwhelming to think that in a few decades the people who came before us could be easily forgotten if we don't work to keep them alive within ourselves. If I can try to hold on to the past just enough to give it the respect it deserves and to guide me and my choices, I feel like I'm better prepared to look to the future and all of the exciting (and scary) things that I know are to come.