I've got my share of sets of china, silver, jewelry, and even clothes from my grandmothers and beyond. Traditionally, things of great monetary and sentimental value are given to younger generations to preserve the history of the family, and the memory of specific family members. Some people wear their parents' wedding bands, or a pair of earrings their grandmother wore all the time, while others like to share the story of how their ancestors immigrated to the US from their homeland.
There are some more subtle, intangible, things that have been passed down to me, though. Here are a few of the things that I inherited from my lineage.
- Migraine headaches. Thanks, Nana, my maternal grandmother, for keeping this tradition alive.
- To be blunt, painful periods. Thanks, again, Nana, for this lovely monthly reminder of where I came from. This is another reason I plan to save for therapy over college, as my daughter will certainly have daggers in her eyes for me when her time comes.
- Repeating myself. I repeat myself. I tell stories to the same person several times. I often tell one person the same story multiple times. I repeat myself.
- If you've ever talked to my mother, you've heard that I ate everything until I turned three, then I ate nothing. Well, next to nothing, but in stories, it sounds better when you say 'nothing'. And you've heard it over and over and over and over.....
- There is a story that my grandmother told which changed with each telling. Either my mother or my uncle, depending on the telling, were conceived as a twin, but the other one died before they were born. Each year we looked forward to hearing this story, wondering which one of them had been the twin.
- I feel most a peace when my fridge and freezer are stocked. Got that from Nana, the food hoarder, too. No, I'm not a food hoarder.
- I am left handed. My mom is left handed. Her grandmother was left handed. I think Fred might be left handed. We are awesome.
- I have a funky wave in my hair at the back of my head. Thanks, Dapa, my mother's father, for sending that one my way. OK, so that one's tangible.
- Hot temper. Thanks to the Scots on my mom's side. It's dulled over time, but it's there. Trust me.
- I have a pretty quick sense of humor. I get that from my dad's side, for the most part. That's not to say that the crazy Brits and Scots on my mom's side weren't funny, but the Germans on my dad's side seemed to have perfected the timing part.
I've tried to establish routine traditions in my own small family, but, I'm hard pressed to name them because, I guess, they're such a part of who we are that they don't seem unique to me. They don't appear to be 'tradition', rather they are just what we do. When I figure them out, I'll let you know.