I've missed the feeling of being hungry. Hungry for something bigger than myself. Something more fulfilling than the tasks and activities of day-to-day-living.
I was so unaware of how family history, my passion, filled that need.
|Not my fridge. But I love the retro ones!|
Me? I could go all day without food when I'm consumed by family history. But, there's always someone walking by or talking to me about something. It's hard to focus. I cringe when people tell me to wait to pursue my passion 'til they're older. James is 3. That's a LONG time to wait!
Yesterday Kyle, almost 15, made his way across the kitchen, watching me at the computer. "I don't see what you get out of family history. Why do you do it?" I could tell he meant it. He keeps quiet unless it's important to him. That's the way he is.
Earlier his 12-yr.-old brother, Connor, said just about the same thing. "I don't get what you see in that stuff."
Their 22-yr.old brother, Brody, called later in the afternoon from college. "How's the online stuff going?" He's always checking in. Wondering.
Madeleine, cutting up paper and gluing right across from me said, "I liked when we had no power (the recent 3-day storm). You didn't do family history." That hurt!
So they see me, they know what I'm doing, but they really don't understand.
I watch people and I wonder, too. What keeps them going? I see the same people on Twitter every day, genealogists who seem to never tire of the research. They have amazing blogs and are endless sources of knowledge and stories. Don't they ever get stumped or wonder, "Why am I doing this? What do I get out of this?"
Back to my answers to my kids. I had a different reply for each one.
I sensed Kyle was listening and really wanted to know. So I said, "The dead are just like you. They weren't just born and died. They lived a life. I'm honoring that life. I'm paying attention to them. It just seems right." He nodded his head and opened the fridge.
No matter what I said to Connor his opinion of family history wasn't going to change, "It's sooo boring!" With him I focused on the feelings I have. "There's a spirit that overtakes you. It doesn't let go. If you were consumed by golf and I wasn't that wouldn't make golf any less important to you. You'd just know it was your thing not mine." He threw himself onto my shoulder. "I'm bored. What's to eat?"
"Want to know my favorite part of the 3 days we were without power?" I asked Madeleine. "When we cuddled in the chair under piles of blankets." She smiled. She just wanted to know that I loved being with her.
Brody laughed and was genuinely interested. I could tell him the truth. "It's hard sometimes. Just today I feel like I'm getting back on track." I'll take the liberty of interpreting his comments to mean he is in the same place as I am. He's figuring things out.
Finding and maintaining passion are two different animals.
But I have to tell you that when it kicked in again yesterday (Friday) I was euphoric. It was really hard putting things aside to cook for those little people who just might die if I don't feed them now and again. And they were so grateful that I had. That helps.
You know what I find amusing? As I re-searched my research the same people were still missing in action, others were still sitting on a census record or a ship's passenger's list, as if I'd never left. I laughed as I felt like they said, "She's back! Now we can get on with living!"
I wish so much that I could bring you into that world with me. You'd have a blast.