Family ties have always been important to me, but not always a priority. As I was growing up I was able to maintain hit and miss relationships with my parents and siblings. My fraternal grandmother was a constant in my life and I felt her presence, knowing she was there to give me the family connection that I often needed.
My parents had their own misguided reasons for flitting in and out of my life. Much of their reasoning was flawed and they were self-centered and self-righteous when they tried to justify their lack of parenting skills.
I learned very early in my life that if I was going to have a strong, loving family I would have to create my own. There were so many missteps and failures along the way. I had learned the wrong lessons from my own parents and had to relearn from better role models.
Today, I do have that strong and loving family I yearned for as a child. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, with lots of help from many people.
Some years ago I was able to reconnect with my two younger half brothers and their families. They’re great guys. I’ve become re-acquainted with distant cousins, heard many family stories that I vaguely remember from childhood, and I’ve visited some of the places I remember from when I was young. It feels so good to be a part of a family’s history. These people and memories are all from my dad’s family. My mother’s family has been more mysterious.
My mother was born and raised in Hawaii, and was half Hawaiian. Although we were in close contact in the years before she died, she never spoke of her family, and I knew not to ask. Several months ago I posted a query on a genealogy forum for the surname of my Hawaiian grandmother. Eventually, I got an email from a cousin, who was able to connect me with family members who had done the genealogical footwork and who sent me all of that information and even pictures via email. I was thrilled to get all of the information, going back many generations, but more excited to connect with close family. I have 2 aunts still living, and many 1st cousins. I have 2 half sisters, and nieces and nephews.
Why is this so exciting and important to me? Because I really wanted to connect all of the dots for my children and grandchildren. I didn’t want to leave them wondering who they are and where they come from. I want them to be reassured that there are generations of family behind them, and we know who they were. We have answers.