Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Now I know

I've been spending my time labeling posts so I can make some rhyme or reason out of things when I begin choosing posts to include in the blog book Tess and Bill gave me for Christmas.  I so wish I had used labels when I first began blogging.  Shame on me!

As I (rather slowly) have been backtracking,  I come across drafts that were never published.  Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night with a head full of thoughts and write a few sketchy phrases on my computer and then go back to bed.  And then the next morning I find myself scratching my head, thinking "where was I going with that thought"? 

I came across this post entitled "Now I Know" that I started over a year ago.  Here is what it said:

cousins dying
never understood why mom would tell me when a cousin of hers I didn't know died
over 100 cousins both sides
now I know why

It didn't take me long to figure out where I was going with these thoughts. 

Although my immediate family is not large - two brothers and one sister, their kids, spouses, and of course my own husband, kids, spouses, grandkids, etc.  The numbers quickly begin adding up, but they are nothing compared to really large families.  My parents came from families with 8 and 13 children.  The number of relatives is huge.  I have hundreds of cousins.  Many I no longer know.  I could pass them on the street and not recognize them.  But that doesn't mean I don't care.  I know of them and I mourne them when they die.

And that is where the thoughts of this post started.  Quite a few aunts and uncles and a number of cousins have passed away over the past few years.  This includes my own dear parents.  When someone dies, I always feel compelled to call my children and tell them.  For the most part they don't know these people, other than sometimes with a faint recollection.  When I tell them somebody died, they say things "What did she look like?" or "Was he the one..." 

My own mother would always call me when one of her Aunts or Uncles or Cousins would die.  And I was like "Was she the one..."  And I would wonder,"Why is she telling me about these people I've only heard of and don't know?"  And now I know.  It is because they are important.  They are part of our heritage.  They are relatives, whether we "know" them or not.

So to my dear children, the next time I call you to tell you that someone you don't know died, just smile or act saddened (whichever feels right at the time ) and indulge me.  I do believe it is just something that a generation must do when they get to this time in their life.  Just wait.  It will be your turn next - and your own kids can roll their eyes at you.

Another thought now pours through my head.  The numbers continue to decrease.  Where I had hundreds of first cousins, my own children have 12 first cousins.  Their children already have more than that, but not by much.  Is this a good thing (reducing the population of the earth)? Or a bad thing?  I have no answers.  Just questions - and a compelling need to pass unnecessary informataion on to my children.  Love you guys!

15 comments:

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

Thank you for that thought. I too, had a mother that would tell me stories about relatives I never knew. She did geneology, so, the kicker is , she didn't know them either! Now when I tell my daughters something about someone they don't know, they call me "Grammy", and I know to it's time to stop. (You also gave me an idea for a post, so thanks Deanna)

Rita said...

I never labeled my posts or even titled them when I started. I began with a day and date like I had started my letters all these decades. Then too much time went by to go back and revise with additions. Good luck. Must be kind of fun to go back and reread them, though. :)

I don't know most of my relatives, either. And the numbers have diminished greatly in subsequent generations. My son only had five first cousins and only one of those has had one child...the youngest cousin! My son and DIL decided not to have any children. Times have changed. :)

AliceKay said...

Cousins...I have many cousins who I could pass on the street and wouldn't know them, too. My dad comes from a fairly large family, and there were lots of relatives on that side my sisters and I hardly knew. My mother is an only child (her older brother died when he was two days old) so I don't have any first cousins on that side of the family.

It's good to know your heritage and where you come from. Your kids will appreciate you telling them when a cousin or relative dies. Someday that may be very important to them.

spacegirl60 said...

It is always good to be one of the "keepers of family history". And you are right...one day your kids will do the same.

Keep up the good work!

spacegirl60 said...

It is always good to be one of the "keepers of family history". And you are right...one day your kids will do the same.

Keep up the good work!

ChicagoLady said...

You are fortunate to have such an extended family. I have four immediate cousins, but many many extended cousins that I've never met and probably will never meet.

Queenie Jeannie said...

I think as we get older, we realize how important it is to be remembered! I think what you're doing is wonderful, so please keep at it. Hugs!

Intense Guy said...

I think Jeannie hit the nail on the head.

With age cames some wisdom (usually?)

Toriz said...

Oh, so that's why people do that. Thanks.

I have a theory about the cousin number decrease. The thing is, people used to have as many children as they ended up with, so a lot of people would have 8 or more children. These days people take matters in to their own hands and more often than not only have a child or 2. I mean, a family with 5 children was, at one time, a small family. These days anything more than 3 or 4 is considered a large family, and anything more than 8 is considred insane. Personally I'd love to have several children, but most people don't feel that way. I know a few people who have only 1 or 2 and have no intention of having any more. Some people don't even want children, or fail to have any for whatever reason. Where as the number of children had by the other family members if someone couldn't have any would make up for the person (or persons) in question not producing any, the fact the option to have none is available and used these days does not. I mean, going back a generation or so, nobody in their right mind would have thought anything other than that when they got married there would be children. These days being married (or in a relationship) isn't done by all, and neither is bringing children in to said relationship. Say, for example, your parents families were added together. That would make 21 children. Each of them would probably have had an average of 4 children a piece (at least, but we'll say 4 for the sake of argument). 21 times 4 is 84, so that makes 84 cousins for you. But say half of those cousins decide not to have children, and a quarter can't, and the remaining cousins only have 3 children each, then we're down to 63 cousins for your children. Then if half of those don't want children, and a quarter can't have any, and the rest only have 1 each... Well, you see where I'm going with this, I'm sure. That's my theory anyway.

Creation Corner said...

My Mothers side had 12 kids.Two sets of Twins and one set of triplits.My fathers side had 10 kids.5 boys 5 girls.All those familys had their own share of Kids and so cousins are plentyfull in my family.And Yes Alice, i too can walk by some and not know them and i have some i just as some didnt know. lol Y.O.P. JUnYaH.

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Three of my grandparents came from large families, but my maternal grandparents only had 2 children and my dad's parents had him and each brought a daughter to the marriage. My aunt only had one child, so I've really only got 1 first cousin. My children only have 4 first cousins.
I do think it's important to know your heritage and I'm glad I've had people on both sides of my family doing genealogy so I've gotten most of the information about who's who written down.

LadyStyx said...

You know, I always wondered why my MIL does that. Then again, it seems like dear hubby's related to half of that small town back home so she's calling often.

Lynn said...

Wow I have never heard of a blog book but that is a wonderful Idea and definitely something for your family to cherish forever. Your blogs are always so wonderful anyways, I don't think mine is bookworthy LOL

My family is a good size and I definitely understand about feeling sad when one passes we are not all close and never speak but when someone passes it does make me sad.

I hope you and your family have a happy weekend HUGS!

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, even the cousins we've never met are still important, somehow, as a part of our story. And as Queenie Jeannie said, it's nice to be remembered.

jewelzmomof4 said...

Mom....although I do not know some or most of the people you tell me about when you call to tell me they have passed I am glad you do...Like you I am saddened even though i didn't know them personally most of the time you did and I am saddened for their immediate family and for you and Dad because no matter how well you knew them it is still hard to lose someone. I am glad you call me and tell me these things and plan on doing the same to my children LOL.