Monday, November 7, 2011
As I'm watching a movie that involves a paternity mishap, my mind has started wandering onto the subject of family - specifically inherited traits. The child in the movie has distinct characteristics (moans when he eats, thinks he has every disease in the book - hey wait, that sounds familiar…) - all of which link him to his real father. And so it got me thinking about some of the faces I make subconsciously, the protruding bunion on my right foot, my incessant need to ruin surprises or even the foods I refuse to eat just based on the way they look - all pieces of the inheritance that my parents and the generations before them have left for me.
Inadvertently, my parents and grandparents have bestowed upon me some of their worst traits; albeit, they are also responsible for my best traits but it's typically harder to see the good in people and even more so, the good in ourselves. For better or for worse, the mesh of good and bad equals me. That doesn't, however, mean that I cannot change and steer towards another course. After all, we are all granted free will (at least once we turn 18 or leave our parents’ home) which means we have a choice. For example, a child who is raised by an alcoholic father might be more likely to inherit a problem with self-control or addiction but that isn't a one-way ticket to Margaritaville; instead, that child might silently vow never to be anything like his father and push harder than normal to assure that he/she doesn't get to that point. Similarly, I can make the call as to whether I will have an uncontrollable sweet tooth like my father and grandmother or a constant curiosity like my mother. But as evident by my muffin top, I have made a stand on one of the above although I desperately wish I could rid myself of that innate love of all things sugar. As for my nosiness, I'm happy to say that it is a work in progress.
The point is - no matter how hard we try, we can't escape who we are...or who our family is for that matter (even if DNA is the only thing we have in common). We may not even like our family but it's important to remember that God gave them to us - they not only shaped us into the person we have become but they are the bridge that links us to our future (as quoted by Alex Haley).
Although I am no longer Jessica B. (insert maiden name), I have still carried much of the "B" into my own family. My daughters very much resemble my husband but are programmed with so many similarities to me and my side of the family. It's not exactly what I had in mind as an inheritance for my children but in reality, it's a priceless gift. After all, my father's mother is no longer around but seeing some of her quirks in me is a sweet reminder of her that lives on and will continue to live on in my children and so on. It's actually quite a beautiful thing!
There are some people I know that find their family a nuisance or perhaps even worthless. They feel they could do better without them and would rather forget them altogether. No matter how hard we try to avoid them though, perhaps even going across the world - the truth is that they are always with us – they are inside of us, deep within our bones.
To conclude, I think this quote sums it up nicely - "A man may travel the world over in search for what he needs and yet returns home to find it." Family is home - they are the only people in the world who know everything about you and still love you for who you are. Family matters - especially this one...