Saturday, November 24, 2007

Knowing Your People

Isn't it funny how you can be sitting around with your parents or grandparents, and suddenly a story comes up that you've never heard? They whip out some scandalous tale about a drunken night and you guffaw in horror and delight. And you're reminded that they're actually people—not just your parents?

I find this endlessly cool.

So often we forget that they had their own lives and thoughts and aspirations before we came along. They made mistakes and had their hearts broken. They probably went through a lot of the same stuff we have.

It's so easy to file their existence away under "M" for mom and "D" for dad, without acknowledging that they've also been children, friends, lovers, professionals and maybe even daredevils. And maybe we don't realize this because we forget to ask about the stories. But they're our people—and we should be asking! Their steps and missteps are what brought us here today. We should make a concerted effort to learn more about those events!

My grandmothers were born on the same day, I believe two years apart. They grew up not far from one another but had such different experiences and endured so many things as young women and young wives. I never knew to ask for the details. But now I cannot wait to talk to them about everything when my time here is done.

I also hope that if given a chance to read my deepest darkest diary secrets, my own kids will not be able to put the books down.

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