Saturday, November 5, 2011

She's Back!

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!
Half of the time I'll research and write at the kitchen counter. The refrigerator is two feet to my left. There's a lot of activity in that little part of my world. Someone is always hungry or thirsty! I always wonder, if I'm not how can anyone else be?

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.


  1. Betsy, your kids sound great!

    During my childhood, I regularly went with my Grandparents to visit their various siblings. I would sit and listen, fascinated by a earlier life. That fascination has never left me, & those Great Aunts & Uncles, Grandparents are all gone. They shared things with me, as your relatives did with you, & soon your children will, even the guy, who is bored with it all will want to know, because it's the sharing & being part of a family that is special.

  2. I think you're right Julie. As bored as they seem with it all, they do notice and ask questions. That's something. Right? You know what I think would be fun? Start writing their "story" as I see it. I'd love to see what that would do!

  3. When my adult daughter asked why this was important I told her "If it wasn't for them you would not exist."

  4. Okay! I'm stealing that one! Why don't I think of these things? Thanks Claudia!!

  5. Such a nice picture you paint Betsy of a large family coming and going! My youngest is 22 and he checks in with me from university too! He was the one who made our web site for Terra Cotta Pendants. I can't imagine having a 3 year old as well - you are so blessed!
    They were waiting for you! ;-) Haha You bring them to life.

  6. Well Betsy, I just lost my comment when trying to figure out how to "comment as". Yikes! I'll try again...

    I love the scene you created here: children in wide-eyed innocence asking very sensible questions. And I totally relate to your son going to the fridge. Although my boys are grown and gone, that's the first thing they do when they come home to visit.

    I think we all sometimes struggle with the "why". But as long as we keep asking ourselves "why", the answer will keep us on our path. Cheers! Kaarina I'm going to try again and hope I don't get booted out:)

  7. Betsy writes:

    Finding and maintaining passion are two different animals.

    Obviously, I've been reading a lot of blog posts about entrepreneurship, start ups, and dreams, and I have to say that Betsy has defined the problem for most aspiring entrepreneurs and dreamers that can't make it go. Daydreams are one thing. Finding passion is another. And making it go is something else entirely.

    As Janet Callway's blog post about Dr. Seuss' last book reminded me a few days ago, there's a place called waiting and a lot of people get stuck there and, oh, with no other place to go.

    Congratulations Today Is Your Day

    Recently on my blog: Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters

  8. Kaarina
    Thanks for sticking with this crazy, unpredictable commenting system! I saw your boys in a Thanksgiving pic on Facebook. They're all grown up! You know what my biggest problem is? It's not that I don't love what I do. It's that I put what other people love first. You know what I mean? I love to read and get hooked reading so many blogs that I forget that there are only so many hours in the day. And before I know it there are other things that need my attention. If that happens for more than a day, and I don't work on family history, the fire begins to die. It used to be the first thing I did in the morning (well one of the 1st!).

  9. Thank you for saying, "you are so blessed!" That helps me keep some perspective and balance with the living and the dead! That's so cool that your son designed your website. He did a great job! Love you Lori!
    And you forgot to put a link to your site! Thank you for saying, "you are so blessed!" That helps me keep some perspective and balance with the living and the dead! That's so cool that your son designed your website. He did a great job! Love you Lori!
    And you forgot to put a link to your site!

  10. Hey Stan! Your comment stuck! Thanks for the comment and links back to Janet's and your posts. You forgot Blog Soup: ! So I added it.

  11. Betsy, aloha. Actually, Betsy, I loved what you said to Kyle because that's what I feel when I read your posts. That you are honoring their lives and saying #YouMatter comes through loud and clear. You do make people, time and circumstances come alive with your writing.

    Aside from the people who are the subject matter or the posts, think about how much you are learning about things in general as you do research. People who lived 100+ years ago lived in a very different world from ours.

    Betsy, I always feel you celebrating life--theirs and yours.

    While the flame may die down sometimes, I doubt that it will ever take much for you to have it come roaring back. It may flicker, however, it will not be extinguished because they call to you.

    Welcome back, Betsy. Best wishes for a wonderful week ahead. Until next time, aloha. Janet

  12. Janet,
    It was such a strange day for 4 of my 9 to say something to me about family history! Maybe it was their asking that woke me up. Sometimes questions that make you think are all that you need. And I do learn a ton!

  13. You are amazing! Such natural talent.and a super duper mom.i see lauren at the restaurant once ever two months.she is your mini me!

    1. Alicia, isn't it strange that this post was from last year when we had the other freak storm? I realized that AFTER I had posted it this morning. Hope that's not a sign that I'll be sitting for three days without power again!
      And, yes! Lauren is a beautiful girl..I love her so much. She always makes me smile. She shines from the inside out! Have a great day/storm!!

  14. I had a computer that I wanted to give my Grandchildren, there were a great many old family photos on it which I had to sift through and download so that I could install them on my new computer. It was taking too long to suit two of the kids. Kenzie who was probably about 6 at the time and Colt might have been about 10. They kept saying "How much longer...?" "Why do you have so many pictures..?" Then Colt piped up and said, "I think I's kind of like History..." "WOW", I thought to myself, he gets it! :o)

    1. Yes! So fun when they make the connection. Makes you realize you're not nuts at all!

  15. You DID introduce me to that world..through your blogs!!! I love everyone of them! nd Yes! you make them come alive!

    As Always ~*~

    1. I KNOW we'd have fun getting to know your ancestors...someday, Ann!


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