I've reached that age where I've lived more of my life than I have left to live.
On Sunday, our family had its annual Mother's Day dinner (one that includes birthday celebrations for all those born in May.) My aunt who hosts the gathering at her home turned 93 and recently had a stroke. In fact, she just got out of the hospital last week. She's but a shadow of her former feisty, fun-loving self. Her gabby, talkative ways have been snatched away by the stroke (she does talk it's just incoherent). She's thin and not as mobile as she was.
I mentioned to a cousin who is a year younger than me that it's hard watching our parents, aunts and uncles get older. Their faces show their age. Their gait has slowed. Their hair has grayed considerably. It seems like just a few short years ago, they were young and we were younger. Now they're old and we are older. I flip through family photo albums and I remember the moments captured like they were yesterday--except they're not. They're more like decades upon decades ago. Many of the people in the photos and videos we watched this weekend have passed on--my grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, a great uncle, my own father. Time is marching on and our age is marching right along with it.
This past week, my mother came down to Southern California from Northern California for a week-long visit. She's still mobile and active, yet not the Wonder Woman that she was of my youth. Watching your parents age is a hard pill to swallow.
Nothing like seeing the generation before you age that makes you face your mortality.
My cousins and I are now becoming the older generation.
We will be the ones the younger family members come to for family recipes. We will be the storytellers of our history and heir-apparent of precious memories of those who have passed on. It will be our job to share what our family was like and where we came from.
No one prepares you for the passing of the mantle. It's just draped heavily on your shoulders with no explantation. You just know it's your time.
As the generation behind me comes up, I pray I wear this mantle well. I hope I share with them all the good that's been tucked into my hands like little precious jewels from those before me.
How are you carrying on the history of your family to the next generation?