Friday, February 11, 2011

You are the Pen

Pick up a pen. No, don't put it down.

On the computer? Don't leave. Stay right where you are.

Oh, I guess if you are reading this, you are on the computer. I'm a little slow sometimes. Okay, now write.

Whining: What will I write? I am not a writer? Who will care what I write? I don't have time to write (my favorite). My hands hurt (so do mine). Excuses, excuses, excuses. Well, I don't buy them, folks. There is always a way.

I was afraid to write because I was afraid that I might upset my family with what I wrote or would uncover some secret in our family history that would cause the world to crash. Oh, I knew I could write. But could I bare my soul? Could I say something that would make a difference. And, a difference in what? Who would read it? Who would care? Because I can write, it does not mean that I don't understand those who find it difficult. Truly, I do.

We have a gift to give. I didn't learn that until I got into my senior years. I wonder at my predecessors and their lives. I wish I had asked more questions. We all have such rich, wonderful stories in that past from where we hail. We have the champions and those who made mistakes. We have the talented and those who struggled just to survive. This is our history. This is the history of our families.

Writing a sentence that says "Grandmother wrote with the pen of an angel" vs "My Grandmother did washed clothes, cooked for farm hands and raised five kids". Each are rich. One is poetic while the other is real and earthy. Both are wonderful. Individual and true.

My hands hurt. That's putting it mildly on most days. My thumbs are slowly becoming disfigured. I cannot hold a pen or pencil for long. The computer has been my paper and pen. It is my dictionary, my research tool and a drawer where I store my writing, my pictures. If I didn't have my computer, I would wish for a recorder so I could tell my stories. Maybe a voice from my grandchildren's history would mean even more to them then the written word.

We are the ones who bring our histories alive. We give voice to those who no reside with us. We give tribute to our family tree and those swinging from the branches. Why not?

"Grammy, did you really have a lamb?" my granddaughter asks.

"Grammy, are we really related to Robin Hood?" If I only knew.

"Grammy.....Grammy.....Grammy.....". On and on it goes. I will not be here someday for a future grandchild to say my name. I will not be here when my children are older and wish they would have asked. Now is the time I can answer the unrealized questions.

Parents, Grandparents, pick up that pen. Tell you story to someone who will write it for you. You do have time. Time is what you make it. In unraveling my past, I find a richer present. I embrace my family once more. I discover things I never knew.

You are the pen.


  1. I am so honored to call you friend. I greatly admire your ability to be the ultimate Grandma! Those two beautiful little ones are more fortunate than many of their peers because you take the time to be an important part of their day. I guess in other words, by blessing others, you in turn are richly blessed. I am one of the others that you bless without your even being aware. Thanks! Looking forward to dinner with you as soon as our new schedule allows. Until then, keep on writing!

  2. My mom just finished a family history that took her years to compile. It's a great resource and work of love. She's a professional writer and doing it still took a lot of stamina and persistence.

  3. Well, "Anonymous", you are a good friend who richly blesses my life. Thank you.

  4. Jake, you are so fortunate to have a mother who know how important the story is and how important it is to tell it. What a wonderful gift to your family. What a wonderful gift to all generations.

  5. I started my blog for the same reason. I wanted my granddaughter to know who I was and how I thought and what I believed. Now I enjoy reading what other grandmas write!
    (BTW, if you have a Mac they have a voice recognition thing that types what you say. I have arthritis in my hands and it is my backup.)

  6. How true, well said. We are exploring ways to formalize the telling of our family stories, so that we do take the time to write, tell, show and read them.

    We started a mixed generation family meeting several years ago and that provides one forum for us to share stories.

    Now that we have grandchildren it seems easier to get our adult children to pay attention to the stories of their past!

  7. I have undertaken the project of filling out a "grandma book" for each of my grandchildren. My goal is to be done by Grandparents Day in September. In case anyone else would like to tackle this project, I've reviewed ten of the keepsake journals on the market. I bet most grandparents can find one that fits!