I have always been very interested in my
heritage, even as a little girl. Not everyone is though! I know some
of my family members care but really it wouldn't bother them to skip
having the information of their ancestors. For me it means a lot, maybe
cause I have a very curious personality! Ok - I'm nosy!
mom was born and raised in Liverpool and my biological father's family
came from England as well. I kinda say that I am so British that I am
Welsh. The British family lineage goes back so far that my relatives
are from Wales. Basically I look at it like if I were to say I am sooooo American that I am American Indian. Ok that may be not exactly right but I hope you get the idea.
traveled a lot as a child and I spent many months growing up with my
cousins in Liverpool. I thought I was cool being from England. I loved
being there but I missed out on having the daily closeness with them.
It was hard in the 70's and 80's and even the 90's to contact family
overseas. The phone would ring at my house and I would pick it up and
there would be a pause - a long pause with static - then a beep - and
some more static - and then some echo of my Nana saying "hello"! It
felt like it took 5 minutes just to start the conversation. If I spoke
words at the same time as she did then it would cancel out everything
and it would go silent. It was terrible! It wasn't til about 10 years
ago that we could make calls that were clear and didn't echo!
yesterday I was lucky enough to go to the NYC and visit with my 1st
cousin, E, and her daughter, F. They decided to make a quick trip to see
NYC for F's birthday. I took L with me so they could see one of my
sons. (The little one would have been too hard to watch
there for the day). As we walked around and saw some sites and took
pictures together, we chatted about our lives and caught up on what we
missed. I have to say it is funny how I hadn't seen E in almost 2
decades but we didn't skip a beat when we saw each other. It was like
we never missed a day...
When L and I arrived that
morning had to walk a bit to get from the train station to the meeting
point where my cousins were. In the 10 minute walk, I explained again
who we were meeting and why they were here. I think in his 5 year old
brain all he heard was the word FAMILY. That is all he needed to know I
guess. When E came towards us, I told him that your cousin sweetheart
and he ran over and gave her a hug. He began to tell her all the
details of the train ride and didn't stop talking for the next few
hours! He was excited to know he had more family.
would walk hand and hand with them throughout the day. It was beautiful
to see. I could have walked away and he would have felt safe because
all he needed to know was mommy said it was family and family means
So where am I going with this story... As I
watched the days events unfold and watched my son feel loved from people
he had never met before, I started to think of the future. How
wonderful would it be to travel to the country of his origin? It would
be expensive but who cares! He may not have contact with his birth
family but that shouldn't stop him from learning his heritage. How
important it is to feel you fit in? How would that help him understand
more of what his ancestors did or how they grew up? His country of
origin is not common and it would be so interesting to see. He was not
born in this foreign country, he was born in the USA. But with his skin
color versus mine, he has already started asking questions about why we
are different. It would be amazing to help him fill in gaps where he
needs. Now of course, it would be up to him if he wants to go. I
always have felt this is his journey now and I am here for the ride.
What he wants to know and he wants to learn is up to him.
do you think? Would you take your child to England or Ireland or Greece
or Russia or Guatemala to visit? How important is heritage to you? Let
me know! I personally think it would a great cultural learning
experience to travel anywhere!
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