I have to say I wish I had done this with my mother when she was much younger. Also with a few of my Aunts and Uncles. Time travels quickly by us and we are sure we will remember and maybe we do but do we share those thoughts. Do we reflect on them and make meaning of them.
I think not. At least for me if I don’t sit down and write or talk to some one my thoughts of my family are just my thoughts. Which at times may be ok. Except that my children miss out on the little parts of my early life that made me who I am.
Now that my parents, aunts and uncle have all passed on it is clear I have missed somethings by not having these small chats. Great you say – you are retired and have time to sit and do this thinking. You are correct – am and I do but that does not on its own mean I will or that I will share my thinking with my family.
So here is what we have been doing for the last year. Each Monday my husband and I receive a question by e-mail that we answer and send it back to our kids. There are days I write a great deal. Then there are days that I just type a few sentences and a few I have skipped because I just don’t know what to write. (I tend to put those aside to think on later – maybe)
It is fun to see what my husband writes and I know he is reading mine. It took awhile to get in the swing of writing each week. The kids don’t often talk to us about them but I know they are reading them. Bits and pieces of our writing come up during family dinners or causal conversations on the phone. It isn’t a big planned situation where they sit us down and say talk. I tried that with my mother a few years back. It went no where. She had nothing to say. (While inside I know she had lots to say.)
The added benefit is I am almost always surprise at what I have written, what I remember or what I don’t remember and wish I did. These are the stories that built who I am and the ground work for the fiction stories I wish to write.
Questions we have written about:
- What was your first car?
- Do you have any particularly vivid memories of your Grandparents?
- What was your wedding like?
- Are their high school friends you are still in contact with?
- What is your favorite holiday memory?
- How did you choose your children’s names?
- Who is the best cook in your family?
Think about it – what do you remember, how are you sharing your early life with family? Or are you the young one – what do you really know about your parents, grandparents? Not the big events but the little things, the day to day things that make them who they are.
(We are now using a company called Story Worth – which my daughter uses to pick questions from and they set up a blog format for my husband and I to write in but with the web and free blogs it is easy enough to set one up yourself.)
Maybe this month long challenge might be a great place to explore a few questions about your tiny moments that make up who you are.