Sunday, February 10, 2008

Circle of Life

This weekend Aaron, Grace, and I spent time up at my family's cottage in northern Wisconsin. It has become sort of a tradition over the past few years--my parents, my sister and her husband, and Aaron, Grace, and I choose a weekend in the middle of winter to head up north to relax and just get away from everything. We play board games and card games, walk out onto the frozen lake, eat lots of great food, drink wine, and just generally enjoy each others' company. It's something I sincerely look forward to every year.

Our family's cottage is uninhabited in the winter, but in the summer my grandparents, who spend winters in Arizona, live at the cottage. Because of this, quite a few of my grandparents' belongings remain at the cottage year-round. Whenever we head up north in the winter, I find myself missing my grandparents immensely as I look at all of their stuff and imagine what it would be like to have them there with us. But then again, there's something comforting in seeing my daughter playing with the same toys and reading the same books that I read at my grandparents' farm as a child. Which brings me to my point...

I spent part of yesterday looking at my grandma's old photo albums. In my searching, I found pictures from my parents' wedding and from my infancy. As I looked through the pictures, I was able to remember parts of my childhood that were all but forgotten and I was able to see my parents and grandparents as I remember them from my youth. I let myself remember what it was like to be a kid, running in the fields at my grandparents' farm, sitting under the willow tree in their front yard, and playing with my cousins. I laughed at my dad's 1978 hairdo, shook my head at my huge bangs and power cuffed jeans from my middle school days, and marveled at how YOUNG my grandma looked in some of the pictures. I also came across some photos of my great grandma, of whom I only have a few scattered memories.

Something dawned on me as I closed the photo albums and moved on with my day. It's amazing how life is...seeing photos of my mom holding me as a baby, photos of my grandparents walking my mom down the aisle on her wedding day, photos of my parents as reminded me of how life changes and evolves. Now I am the mom, my mom is the grandma, my grandma is the great grandma, and Grace is the little girl I see in the pictures. Part of it makes me sad, in a way, because as a child it seemed almost unthinkable that the time would ever come when I would have my own child, yet here I am. I couldn't fathom my mom as a grandma, let alone my grandma as a great grandma. It takes my breath away to think of how quickly time passes. But, part of me is comforted by knowing that the circle will continue, and we will always have these rich family memories to reflect on with fondness and nostalgia.


Bert said...

What a wonderful sentiment. And how fantastic that your grandparents had those old photos for you to see!