This time of year stirs up a lot of emotions for many people. There are lots of family functions and celebrations and times to think about the people who used to be there, the people who should be here and the people that just plain simply are not here.
It's far healthier to focus on the people that are here. I am working on that.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with an old family member. It was great to reminisce about the good times in our past as well as talk about the not-so-good-times. I left with a feeling of gratitude. I was thankful that we were able to share our memories and become stronger because of them. I was proud of the adults we have become and that we took our past and made it as positive as we could.
That same day, Miranda got an itch to play in our basement. It's unfinished and therefore she needs more supervision than normal! A lot of her old toys are there and so every once and a while, we give in and head down.
While she was climbing on her rocking horse, I decided to go through some of my dad's stuff. We packed up his belongings long before he died, when we were moving him into a facility that could take care of him. I have boxes and bins and albums of pictures that he savored. So I started there.
Wow. So many memories. Pictures of my mom and brothers and me in a time that was all but forgotten. Smiles that were practically bursting off the pages. Fashion choices and hair cuts that made me cringe. My dad in his element with classic cars and vacations and surrounded by people. He loved the be the center of attention and often was.
I have so many emotions swirling around in my head. My childhood was not ideal. There was so much suffering. However, did that suffering make me into who I am now? Would I be the same person if my past was different?
As a parent now, I see things so differently. I would do anything to protect my child, as my mother did for me. My dad did not have the same instincts, but how much can I continue to blame him for that? I am not even sure he did the best he could. He did what was best for him. Does that make him bad? Not at all. Does that make him a a bad dad? Well, uh, yeah.
How much does our past determine our present? And how much does the here and now determine what is yet to come? I think a lot of it.
If I never started working at my old company, I would have never met Gary. If I never met Gary, there would be no Allie and no Miranda. I would not be an aunt to 2 fantastic nephews and 1 amazing niece. I probably would not live in my house or drive my exact car. Who knows where I would be personally or professionally. My whole existence would be different.
My past led me to my present which is going to funnel into my future. I guess all I can do is be mindful and aware of the emotions that come up along the way and sit back and enjoy the ride. That is the right thing to do. The healthy thing to do. And after all, it is quite a ride!