This year, we again decorated one of our trees in honor of my mom and Mark’s grandmother, both passed on years ago. Nettie (Mark’s grandmother) died years before we married. And only Holden knew my mom, his “Lizzy.” She died a month after Josi was born, over-the-moon about the arrival of her Chinese granddaughter.
As we put each of the old, delicate and memory-laced ornaments on the tree, Mark and I spoke of our love of two remarkable women and shared stories of them with the kids. What we were doing was claiming our children by sharing history through narrative story, celebrating the rich personalities of Lizzy and Nettie, and our interconnectedness as a family. We spoke of names that the kids carry that honor relatives, living and gone. Granted this time was about Mark’s and my lineages. There have been many times where we’ve discussed our kids’ birth lineages by looking at pictures, video and sharing narratives. These are claiming opportunities as well. Claiming is important. Claiming pulls our kids in; helping them to feel part of us, have a sense of connectedness to one another. Our kids belong in the circle of our love.