Thursday, October 9, 2008

Photostory Friday: Legacies

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


I've been thinking, for the last couple of days, about something my mom said to me, Sunday afternoon.
But, let me digress for just a moment, to give you a little background to my story. My dad died, suddenly and unexpectedly, ten years ago this December -- six months before the birth of my son, Matthew. Because we didn't see the tragedy coming -- the death, not the birth -- my dad didn't know about the pregnancy. The announcement was going to be our Christmas gift to him that year. But, we never got the chance.
I have many regrets over the loss of my father, but the biggest has always been that my kids would never know him. He knew my daughter, Jordan, who was a year and a half old, when he passed away. But, she doesn't remember him, and he never saw Matt or Emma.




Back to my original story: we were eating dinner with my mom last Sunday -- chicken, corn, potatoes and gravy and biscuits -- when she noticed the way my son eats. Matthew separates each portion of food from the others, and then eats them, one by one, finishing one item completely, before moving on to the next one. When she asked him why he does this, Matt replied that he doesn't like to get the different flavors mixed together. No one else in my family does this. Or so I thought. After hearing Matt's explanation, my mom turned to me and said "That's just the way your dad used to eat." 




Inheritance is a funny thing. Often we think of it in terms of money, or property. My dad was a man of enormous artistic talent, but financial realities made him the owner, and only employee, of a small print shop. He didn't have a lot, and when he died he left very little behind. I have a battered old cowboy hat, his camera and a poem he wrote that maybe I'll share someday. I don't even have any pictures (I've hauled around a cd, with family photos on it, for ten years, but I think I lost it in our move). 
I don't wear the decrepit hat (no one could wear that ratty thing), and though that old Canon gave me my start in photography, I don't use it anymore. I was feeling my dad slip away, in to the hazy, recesses of memory. 




But, I'm seeing things differently today. I see more of my dad, in my son, everyday. I see it when we throw the football in the backyard, and when we shoot baskets. I see it in the glasses he wears. And for the rest of my life, when I watch my son, and his bizarre eating habits, I'll know that my dad is still here. 
Somewhere, I believe he is smiling at this.
I am too.




Someday, maybe I'll tell you about our crooked toes -- but, that's an inheritance from my mother.

46 comments:

Cecily R said...

Ah, Chris. You gave me warm fuzzies again. Actually, I think this might be my favorite Chris post ever.

The words and photos, perfect all around.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

This is so bittersweet. I think, well I know, your Dad did / does know and I also know he finds this post spectacular. Lovely portraits, beautiful words.

Alexandria said...

By far my favourite PSF yet. Absolutely beautiful. Big hugs.

Mom24 said...

What an awesome story. Great pictures too. One source of great sadness is that my brother never got to meet my husband or see my kids. He would have loved them. Sometimes I see him perfectly in my youngest son's goofiness.

AVT Coach said...

How wonderful of your mother to give that "gift" to you and to your son. That one small trait is big enough to carry us into the next generation and appreciate the legacy of those before us. Your dad is remembered and not with "stuff" but with someone you can hug every day. I bet your mom sees your dad in your eyes as well!
Maybe you could ask.

Pampered said...

*sniffs* Beautiful. My little man is the same way. My grandfather hung on with what little strength he had left to meet my son...he died the day after he was born. And there are so many ways the two of them are connected and similar. True guardian angels.

Kelly said...

my stepfather died very suddenly and i hate that my son never knew him. he died about 2 years before i had my son and it was one of the hardest things i ever went through.
happy PSF!

Mandy said...

This is a great post. Well done.

Brenda said...

Seriously awesome post and photos!

Robyn said...

Isn't that the truth. Beautiful post, I've been meaning to do one about my husband's mom. Maybe next Fri since you have inspired me. Your son is so handsome in your breathtaking photos.

Jaime said...

This is truly an awesome post! I love the story and I really love the pictures!

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

this is by far, one beautiful post . . . everything, the photos, the wrods, the sentiment behind the words . . . becuase I could feel it.
My son totally eat the same way . . but I am sure for different reasons! And you father so knows your chidlren, you just can not visualize it! Someday you will though and he can tell you how proud he is of you.
This wis what I tell myself . . . my father died when I was 18 . . . a child . . . I never go to know him outside of the father role and he never go to know me as an adult. . . or meet my wonderful children - face to face. But I feel him in our lives, watching over us all.
Great post!

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

WOW - sorry about the typos - I was typing that WAY too fast - and I so need to go to bed!

Kellan said...

This was a beautiful story and a very nice tribute to your father and to your son. I have friends that eat that way - all my kids mush all their food together - like me! I loved your beautiful photos and hearing about your father and your son. Thanks so much for this wonderful post. Kellan

Rachel said...

Chris -- this is an absolutely beautiful, honest tribute to your father. I hope you save this for your son to read when he's grown.

My Photo Story Friday

imbeingheldhostage said...

I honestly didn't think you could write a better PSF than what I've seen here already, but this is the winner. What a beautiful, beautiful post.

Pam Emmons said...

How cool. Maybe your dad coached him on his eating habits before Matt came down. I love Matt. Glad you could "find" your dad again.

photomommy said...

I think I may be speechless.

That was a beautiful post, as well as wonderful photos.

Wow.

CrackerJacks said...

The talent you have for photos and words is beyond amazing!

My children never knew their great grandparents and I think about that a lot. My husband and I's grandparents were amazing people and would have had a great impact on their life. We try very hard to keep their memory alive and we too look for them in our children. Your father will always be there for you and your family...in the smallest detail.

lisaschaos said...

Great photos to go with a touching story. *hugs*

Steph said...

That put tears in my eyes. My sister passed unexpectedly 5 years ago also, and I was pregnant with my 3rd child. She was named after her, and it's quite amazing, she lookes like her and has many similarities also. Isn't it strange sometimes? I also feel my sister's presence near with my sweet third daughter.

Candy said...

BEAUTIFUL.

Straight to Your Hart said...

Thank you for sharing such tender feelings and photos...I am so grateful for glimpses of my Mother-in- law through my children..She is here with us everyday!!

Mary G said...

What a great post! The photos are amazing; I especially love the sepia.
And I, too, see departed loved ones - in my children and, even better, in my grandchild.

Karin said...

Such as beautiful post - I too have tears in my eyes. Life can be very sad, but also so wonderful. To be able to see your father in your son, is a wonderful gift.

Mamarazzi said...

THIS is a fantastic post. i feel like a better person today just by having read it! great pics too!!

perfection, truly!

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

This post is perfection. It's funny how although they never met they have the connection and that connection can help you keep your father a little closer.

The photos are amazing.

And side note - my father and I are the same in eating like that as well. I'm better than I used to be but when I was young I wouldn't let one food touch another and always ate one thing at a time. My grandmother pointed out to me that this is how my father used to eat.

Aaron said...

Does he also wear two watches, one on each arm....just in case.....?

Weeksie50 said...

Oh your Chris is so photogenic.. I love all of these photos..

Weeksie50 said...

I am sorry, I was thinking of your named and typed it instead of Matthew's.. I couldn't go back and change it because I just realized after I sent it..oy.

I am glad that you are starting to see your Dad in your son..

Krista said...

What a neat story! and I LOVE your photos! Aspiring you are not!

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

I was touched by the depth of your story!!

My husband and one of my son's eat just like that!!

Beautiful photos too!

that girl said...

thanks for the timely post. my grandma died on the 21st of september. it was an expected unexpected. i see her in my kids every so often. lately they are remembering things ~ they are jogging my memory with memories of their own.

give your son a hug.

tommie said...

OMGoodness...I have tears....to see your dad in the day to day things is awesome.

I do believe in ....I don't even know how to say it...but others that have passed. I do believe they are there and protect us...and influence us.

Momisodes said...

This is such an amazing post. Your photos are amazing, and paired with your writing and heartfelt story, I have goosebumps.
I am sure your father would revel in this post.

Michelle said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog!

That was a sad but sweet story. I enjoyed reading your other posts as well, and really enjoyed your photog's!

I'll be sure to check in again!

Joyce said...

What a touching story.

Your son is gorgeous, as are your photographs. Beautiful.

Cecilia said...

Wow.... I got goose bumps reading your story and looking at the beautiful photos.

I believe you Dad is smiling at this for sure :)

Susan said...

What a great story! That is one of the great things about "inheriting" certain traits, it keeps us connected to those who came before us.

Golightly said...

Wow, thank you for sharing such a wonderful moment. What a blessing to know your son has those traits of your dad's.

I lost my father when I was only seven. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 28. It never gets easier. My mom used to point out little things I did that were just like my dad. I think it not only helped my connection to him but it comforted her in the loss.

The funny thing is, I have an old decrepit cowboy hat that belonged to my dad. I just refuse to throw it away - but it's beyond being worn.

Thank you for stopping by yesterday.

latree said...

isn't it a good thing, that you finally 'found' you daddy back?

Susie said...

I love reading your stories. This is awesome!
So sorry about the loss of your father, but I am so glad you get to keep bits of him with your son. That is so cool!

stefanie said...

Wow. So glad your mom told you so you could all treasure that inherited preference. What a bittersweet gift.

Killlashandra said...

That's a great story and series of pictures. Those sepia studio shots of him in the suit are too precious and perfect. :)

Cafe Mommy - said...

Tears running down my cheeks...such a homage to your father. Sometimes legacies are transpired thru our children and the best part you are not only recognizing it but embracing it. Your son is handsome! Thanks for sharing and for reminding us how little and few things, remind us of those we love! FABuLous!

lapoflux said...

This is beautifully written... my dad passed away suddenly two years ago, and he didn't really know my son at all (we lived far far away at the time).
Since then I have noticed more and more of my dad in my son, who will be 7 next month. He'd only met him 3 times, but it was as if a torch was passed somehow... I'm not phrasing it very well.