This time of year it’s especially easy to rejoice in family. We get to focus on spoiling our grandkids, remembering the joy of Christmases with our kids and relishing the friends we’ve made over the years who’ve become family.
I was thinking about family recently – and not just the ones who are with us, but those who are gone. My dad and my best friend always make my heart ache a little this time of year when I see something that sparks a memory and I realize I cannot share it with them.
Then there are the family members who we’ve never met. Ancestry.com (and other genealogy sites) can help track them down, but family lore and those treasured photos passed on from my grandparents are so much more real.
With the help of other family members, I’ve done a pretty good job of tracing Greg and my roots back centuries. Creating a family tree is a completely different matter. With some imagination, I managed to capture five generations … beyond that it’s all on paper and in files.
My family tree “wheel” always makes us both laugh as we remember the weekend I met Greg’s stepmom. She was on her fourth husband (having been widowed twice and divorced once). The assembled group was confusing at best and a stepsister of Greg’s sat down with me as we tried to make sense of who was who. In the end we created a wheel with Marilyn in the center.
As I think about family of the past, I can’t help but wonder what Christmases were like for my grandparents as children … and their grandparents … and so on. It’s fun to see the photo of my dad on Santa’s lap and wonder what he wanted from Old St. Nick that year.
I hope all of you have wonderful memories of family and continue to make more. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do just that with my kids and grandkids. Their excitement and laughter this time of year are truly a source of joy.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Let yourself feel the magic of the holidays.
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