I am part of five generations which is extremely rare from what I hear. The real reason we are five generations strong is that my family has good genes. My grandparents and parents have always been active and healthy; this lifestyle is in my DNA and my children’s. My paternal grandmother will turn 100 years old in April 2023. She is still a strong and brilliant woman that speaks her mind.
I have always looked up to my grandparents. They had been married for 74 years when my grandfather passed in 2017. Their marriage was something to admire. It wasn’t perfect, no marriage is, but they made it work. They showed the family what was needed to make a marriage last. My grandparents had two sons. I am the eldest grandchild of five. They have three great-grandsons and one great-great-grandson. I have a treasure trove of memories from the house my dad grew up in — laughter, card games, and sitting around the dinner table listening to war stories. My great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors would gather to eat Grandma Bettye’s home-cooked food. I have pictures of my dad as a child and me as a newborn baby in their house. I also have pictures of my children in their home. One generation after another, walking through the front door, playing hide and seek, sneaking a meatball before dinner. A fond memory was gathering in the dining room while my grandmother read to the family the story of Hanukkah. After the reading, she would light the first candle of the Menorah and have each of us light a candle.
These gatherings were magical, and as the years passed, I realized they weren’t enough. I still need more time. I am still waiting to hear all of her childhood stories. Do I know enough about my family to pass on to my grandchildren? What traditions did my great-grandparents pass on to my grandma? What is her biggest regret? Her proudest moment? Why hadn’t I realized how unique my family was and taken more advantage of it?
What we can learn from past generations is to slow down. Take time out to enjoy one another. Today our lives are so busy and stuffed full of things to do. The magic of a large family that has multiple generations is being able to gather for dinners, birthdays, and holiday celebrations. Don’t let these get-togethers be a thing of the past. How else will your children learn about their ancestry? How will traditions be passed down? Family is important, and spending quality time together is a gift not to take for granted.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and New Year. We appreciate each and every one of you and want to thank you for your continued support of our blog.
By Lisa C
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