I’ve talked about seeing yourself reflected back many times over the years. Today, I’m bringing it up because yesterday I updated the family tree’s (I have one for each parent) with the details of mom passing. And, once someone’s passed, I add pictures too, something I’ve always shied away from while they are living, despite having the tree’s set to private, invite only. Once I get started, then, of course, I check to see if there are new records or details to uncover, and time slips away as I become the observer of generations.
Observing what shaped them, what challenges they lived through, survived. At the same time, I’m always startled by how similar they are, not only physically, but in how they lead/led their lives generation after generation. The continuity that is passed down that you don’t see in everyday life, you have to take the time to look back to see it. I do think looking back is a key part of what keeps a family continuing to be strong each generation. Why family stories need to be told to each new generation so they know others in their family faced similar, did similar, thrived being who they are. Without that continuity, there is no glue to hold you together through both good times and bad.
Both sides of my family are like peas in a pod physically, and in how they led/lead their lives, you’d know siblings are siblings, even if you didn’t know their parents. Once you start looking at their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, you see the same. It’s a comforting part of being in a family that hasn’t been torn apart, disconnected. A family that stood together even if they lived oceans apart, they stayed connected because they all believed family mattered.
Even as the observer, there’s something magical about seeing different versions of the same reflected back in the other members of the family. Something many of us adopted lived without both growing up and as adults. The continuity is missing, and depending on how different you are from the family you landed in, can lead to how noticeable it is to you that you are different, other. That is the effect of adoption, no matter if it was the best solution, it disconnects you from your genes and you lose the continuity. In many ways I’m similar to my family, other ways I’m different, startling so, both physically and in my choices on how to lead my life. I’m also startling similar in those areas with my family of birth that I am so different from in my family by adoption. That is adoption.