I’m not sure why, but Christmas 2023 was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I had so many memories flooding my mind. Not just Christmases from the past, but little tidbits from my childhood and various family members who impacted my life.
Rather than celebrating Christmas, I began to feel weighed down. The feeling was all too familiar because I struggled with grief with the loss of my sister. I had a choice to make, wallow in my memories or rejoice in the blessings of growing up in a wonderful family. I chose to get active and pass along some important tidbits of my heritage to my daughters-in-law, so they could teach their children as they grow.
Mom was on my mind and how she could make something out of nothing. I found the old Nestea jar that was hers and added some calla lilies and a ribbon to make a vase of flowers for Kim. Then I wrote a letter to Kim explaining why Mom saved and used a Nestea jar from my childhood era. Mom was a child during the Great Depression Era and repurposed everything.
For Lindsay, I put together a reverse transfer picture of my son Matt, and his great-great Uncle Joe walking hand in hand. I placed it on the top of the board, and on the bottom I placed a picture of Matt and Lindsay. I explained that Uncle Joe was a man who walked to the beat of his own drum, and sometimes a bit of a wanderer. But he eventually settled down in his older years to be a “grandpa” to my sister and me.
Writing these stories brought more and more memories to mind. I suddenly realized the importance of family heritage and passing along the history to the next generation. I went back to the letters and added appropriate footnotes to build a family tree they could retain. I soon realized that I needed to share more of these stories because we all walk “Hand in Hand” through life with others, passing along the knowledge we gain from our previous walking partners.
These heritage stories are a part of me, and my family, molding our lives. I have shared many of these stories in my devotional books, but not with the same detail or fashion. Maybe it is my age, but I feel God putting upon my heart the importance of family history and describing important people from my past and what I gleaned from their lives.
After winding up a couple of book projects this year, I plan to spend my writing time creating a book of memories, family history, and funny stories from my childhood. I doubt it will be available online, but simply a special project for my family. A gift of love for each of them, with a very special purpose. As we walk through life hand in hand with the next generation, I hope these stories fill a void and answer some questions they might have one day.
We all have a story to tell that impacts our families. So what hand-in-hand family stories do you want to pass along? I encourage you to write these stories and share them with your family, whether it is in a letter or a small book. Don’t allow your family heritage to end with you, make a keepsake that will last forever. Hand in hand, step by step, blessing by blessing, generation to generation.
Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children. (Proverbs 17:6 NLT).