Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Moving up through the generations
When I came home and thought about it though, we have been having four generational get togethers as long as I have been alive. Of course, while I was generation (4) then, I find myself in the postition of generation (2) at the moment. Of course it's the way of things, and eventually every one moves up on the family tree - but it seems to happen so quickly. So I started looking back at the journey that brought us here.
When I was a toddler, I remember visiting with my father's uncle's family. Living with them at the time was the matriarch of his side of the family, my great-grandmother. I do remember that she scared me although my memories of her include nothing but kindness from her. Yet she was OLD (remember I was a baby and then a toddler at this point), and she spoke with an accent which to me, was scary. Looking back now from my current perspective, I wish I were old enough to have appreciated her and the family history I could have learned from her. She came to this country from Russia - because she had to - think Fiddler on the Roof. My great-grandfather actually came first to get settled and then sent for her. Think of the amazing stories I could have heard her tell. I was generation (4) at that moment in time - the youngest generation on the tree. (Though I myself am the oldest of that generation.)
Moving along a bit, and staying with the Passover theme, there came a time where my grandfather would lead the seder ceremony, and we once again had four generations, though we all had moved up a bit. My father's mom had passed away shortly after my daughter was born, but my dad's father would see both of my children born and grow to school age. My son and daughter now were generation (4) and I found myself moving up the tree and was generation (3). Thanks to my brother, we have my grandfather sharing some of his memories - including witnessing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire firsthand - on video.
Then last passover, another change came as my grandsons - born the year earlier - were now a part of the family. My grandfather had passed away more than 20 years previous, but once again we were back at a full four generations. In fact, generation (3) had also increased as my brother had another son earlier in the year. (My daughter, the first of her generation, so far is the only girl.) Generation (3) now covers a 31 year spread! And my grandsons were now generation (4). I find myself as the oldest member of generation (2) now. My dad still presides over the ceremony, but as he tires during it, that task fall to me.
Yes, it is the normal way of things, and at some point in the future (not too soon I hope) I will find myself as the oldest member of generation (1), the position my great-grandmother occupied when I was young. It will be another 2 decades from now until there is another generation (4) ... I am not in a hurry to get there.
(Update: On September 23 2013, my dad suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.)