My sisters and I have spent quite a few moments over the past few days reading love letters that my parents wrote to each other throughout the years of their marriage. One can totally get lost in the history there...and it is fascinating to read both how things were, and how things are the same. Here is my Dad, writing to my Mom in the early 70s when he was in Basic Training as an Army Reservist; so much of it is history, but so much of it feels like the present too. I recognize so much of myself in those letters - here is my young mom, freaking out on the phone because my young dad had to leave things a mess to get to basic training(how many times have I had that same phone conversation with my boyfriend-turned-husband, made a big fuss over something because I missed him?). Here is my young dad, pining away for his young wife with the intensity of young love that I remember so well as a 23 or 24 year old, when a love like that was the whole world, or all I wanted from it.
It just all makes me wonder...how much of who you are is determined already by your own biology? Here are my knees, showing up in the 1940s under my grandmother's dress. Here's my hair color (and of course, though you can't see it, here's my mutation, too). Here's my crazy mood swings, showing up in letters before I was even born. Here's the same way I love, and argue, and the things that I worry about... (though I know so much of this is probably universal...I just recognize it so much in my Dad's prose, or my Mom's.)
It's been enlightening, reading their letters, and hearing them talk once again. I see my Dad's handwriting being formed...hear his signature phrases...and my Mom's as well. It's kind of nice, but I'm also a little afraid to really pour myself into those boxes and those letters. It makes me miss them...and though I BELIEVE that they are happy, and complete now, and together, I feel sorry for what they lost. How sad to love so hard and then to lose your young wife! And then also, how sad to miss the opportunity to spend time with these guys, the 2nd generation of your love:
And I know...how lucky to have found that love at all. How lucky to have been that happy...and yes, they are still with us in a way. But I know that for at least one of these grandchildren, it's not enough to just believe they are still with us. She'd rather have those grandparents on this earth with her - and I have a feeling that the other 5 will feel that way someday, too.