You Can't Pass Down Your Tweets

5 years ago

My great-grandfather came to this country from Italy in the early 1900's.  His supposed intention was to send for his wife and children after he got settled but his family never heard from him again. So his daughter, my grandmother, came to America when she was 16 years old to look for him.  

According to my mother, my grandmother said she never found out what happened and wouldn't talk about him anymore.I often think how sad it was that my mother and her siblings never got to know their grandfather or really anything about him.

Thinking about the untold story of my great grandfather made me think about the relationship that I have with my children. I wonder how much of myself I reveal to them.  

Image: Frank May/DPA via ZUMA Press.

My children are all adults now and in their 30's, with children of their own. I thought about how involved I was in their lives when they were little kids. I knew everything about them then - what they liked to eat, what they like to wear, their favorite TV shows, what made them laugh and what made them cry. I could tell when they weren't feeling well, probably even before they knew they weren't feeling well.

And, of course, I always knew where they were.

Naturally, I started to lose these close connections when they became teenagers and were allowed more freedom. Suddenly, or so it seemed, they were picking out their own clothes, spending more time in their rooms with headphones on, listening to music that I was not familiar with, and talking less to me and more to their friends.

I feel as though there is a whole chapter of their lives that I know nothing about, from high school and college and up until they married. Now we have entered into a new phase of our relationship: We relate to each other as parents and adults. Still, there are parts of our lives that we may never get to share.

A few years ago, I picked up a set of diaries at an auction that were written in the 1920's by a young mother. They were filled with details about her daily routine. She begin by writing about the weather and continue with who visited, what the children did and what she made for dinner. She never missed a day. I quickly became fascinated by this woman's life account and wondered how her grandchildren could part with such treasures.

Now people tweet about their daily routines, but the tweets disappear like a poof of smoke and wind up somewhere out there in cyberspace.  

My memories of my children as little kids are beginning to fade. I wish that I had kept a journal. Perhaps someday I will print out all of my blog postings, and have them bound.  

Perhaps my grandchildren might want to know a little more about their grandmother someday.


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