Recently, I retraced the steps of my childhood. However, walking the territory with my young adult children by my side became a whole new experience. Something profound happens when your kids see, taste, and feel the places that shape your life.
This wasn’t the first time, we ventured into the town of my paternal roots When my children were young, we occassionally drove through the town. We drove past relative’s homes and I pointed out favorite destination spots. However, the questions grew deeper and the curiosity expanded as they grew older. Connections to itheir story have been formed.
We enjoyed stomping around the nostalgic grounds together while recognizing how our family’s story fits into a bigger one. I whirled around with my kids on the same carnival ride seats that I once shared with my parents and siblings. We munched on the same tasty comfort food that I delighted in as a child. And watched, with wonder, the twinkly lights of a magical place, lighting up a dusky hot summer night. We walked in the footsteps of those in their personal narrative.
The deeper thoughts and questions came as we winded through the small town, retracing the paths of my youth. However, this time around, their ears longed to know more. How is this person related? Who was the relative that was known for…..? The visual unfolding of a story gives you a context for understanding what has shaped you. It is both formative and yet allows for questions and discerning what you will do with it. What will you embrace and how will you respond to it’s influences?
These are the moments that I do not want to take for granted. Navigating our story together is a gift.