The idea of celebrating a variety of holidays, in yesterday’s post, made me think of who and where we all come from.  I have a friend who is adopted, so she can’t trace back, genetically, to her heritage.  But she can follow the paths of the generous man and woman who chose her as their child.  I think that is just as valid as blood lines where family-building is concerned.

            Since my own background is so eclectic I have tried to incorporate as much of my personal history as I can into my current life.  One of the ways that I honor the Native American side, is the art on one of my legs.  Those tattoos are all Air images, which is very symbolic of that particular branch of my family tree.  The knotwork and snake design on my left arm is a nod to my Irish background.  It turns out that the Fire Llamas we came up with have a hint of the Mexican displayed there (Mexicans being basically the natives of South America blended with those dastardly conquering Spaniards).  I feel pretty well covered (lol, no pun intended, because I do NOT have nearly enough ink) as far as showing off who I am in that regard.

            I grew up with a lot of brown haired, brown eyed, brown skinned family members around me (literally, they were ALL around).  And I’ve already told you how I had to change my driver’s license once I realized that I did NOT, it turns out, have blue eyes.  When I married that Swede I saw what REAL blue eyes looked like.  (Okay, he’s more Dane than Swede, but seriously, all those blonde Nordic people kinda look alike to me.  White, they are all just very white.  Sexy as hell, but still white.)  My poor kids ended up a blend not unlike the United Nations.

            Here’s the cool part though, they can go forward with no judgement, no prejudices, not a drop of hatred for “others” or those who are not like them.  Because NO ONE is like them.  And they are a little bit like nearly EVERYBODY.  Unless, until …. in our lives this time around, the five of us Pentacle People in my tribe, have come across some folks who are as entertainingly blended as we are.  I love it when that happens.  It’s rare, but it’s wonderful when it does.

          What I also find fun is how the different elements show up, how they manifest themselves physically in tiny and peculiar ways.  My favorite example is something that I get asked about quite often.  How do I sleep in the day time?  How does Daniel manage to work nights and still get enough sleep during the day? 

          The bedroom in this house (where we have lived for over 15 years) is half-way below ground, the primary living area is upstairs, on a different level entirely from where we sleep.  He can pull the shades and have a fairly dark room, away from the daily noise, allowing him to sleep really well.  Even if it’s bright and hot outside.  Here’s something we figured out a few years ago: I don’t need those blinds drawn.  I don’t need perfect darkness to sleep, I never move those shades.  Wanna know what we came up with for the reason?   Or the thing we think is the reason?

Me  ~  You can turn the light on if you need to, it won’t wake me up.

Him  ~ I do turn the light on.  I know it doesn’t wake you up.  It never has.

Me  ~  Of course not.  My eyes are closed.  When your eyes are closed no light gets in.

Him  ~  No, when YOUR eyes are closed no light gets in.  When MY eyes are closed light still gets in.

Me  ~  Well it’s not my fault if you have thin useless eye lids.

Him  ~  Right, I would be so much better off if I had hefty, meaty eyelids like yours that block out all light.

Me  ~  Yes.  You certainly would be.

           We belive that because of my sturdy brown heritage I have thick and highly functioning eye lids, that are hefty enough to block out light.  I also have very beefy fat cheeks, like a roly-poly toddler, and pretty puffy ear lobes too.  He has thin cheeks.  He has wispy wafer-thin, and mostly useless, eye lids.  Because of this defect he has to use the vertical blinds to block out sunshine and over head lighting fixtures.   It’s a great thing we had all those good blended genetics to pass along to our babies, otherwise they might have ended up with sadly thin eye lids.

            Our card today is one that I want to talk about some more once I give you the definition Sylvia has printed on the back.  I think it ties in a bit to what I’ve been talking about (eye lid jokes aside) and some of the conversations I’ve been having privately via e-mail with far away friends as well.

“Strength  ~ 

Strength is nothing more than enduring life – to be able to survive the heartaches and agonies we go through with our heads held high.  Sometimes just walking through adversity to get to the other side is a sign of strength.”

            The picture shows people walking along, all holding hands.  I have been blessed with an enormous family, pretty much all of them willing to extend a hand to me whenever I needed it.  I married into another family that was the same way.  For this, I am thankful every single damn day.  I know that not everybody has this, so it is up to the rest of us, those who DO have that support, to extend our hands to those who might need some. 

              There is another concept of family that must be given its full due, the non-blood kind of familial group.  When you do not have, or have chosen not to have, born-in family, it is one of the most honorable actions you can make, to go out and build a tribe.  Gather those like minded souls to you, and walk as this group in the illustration is doing, holding each others hands, being each others strength.  (And if you are lucky enough to have hefty, light-deflecting eye lids, then yay for that too.)

21 thoughts on “Who We Come From.

  1. Hooray for insomnia! I get to comment early on your blog. 🙂
    I love your cultural mix. When I was younger, my maternal grandmother told me that our family was half Irish and half Scottish, and I got so excited. I loved the idea of belonging, in some way, to those gorgeous countries. When my dad got home from work that night, I proudly told him about my discovery. He looked at me as if I’d said I was from the moon. Then he said, “Girl, our people come from Alabama, and there’s nothing in your blood but red clay and whiskey.” He was not a big fan of genealogy. I have never married, but I have this secret fantasy of marrying someone with skin that’s darker than mine, someone from a different country and culture… with a sexy accent… 🙂

    1. Ha, I saw that comment pop up and thought, “are you okay and why are you not asleep?!” Glad you got to be first, but sorry about the insomnia.

      It’s pretty likely your grandmother knew what she was talking about. Her people had to come from somewhere, originally.

      Oh yes, brown toned skin and way cool accent… let’s get on that shall we?! 😉

  2. I laughed at your comment about brown eyes. For years, my mother-in-law would talk about my husband’s “light eyes,” as if they were blue. They are brown. There’s no way around it-they are just brown. When we had all our blue eyed babies, I think she saw the distinction!

    I like this card, because it’s not asking us to be super-human. It’s acknowledging the triumph in just getting through some days.

    Thanks as always, Julie.

    1. Okay, it’s past time for me to be turning this damn thing off and heading to bed, but we had a tsunami warning on the coast so I’ve been googling around for news.

      Isn’t it funny what we grow up with? And then realize later? 😀

      I was really happy when I flipped this one over too… we can all be that strong, just hang on to someone and keep going. Very real.

      You are most welcome.

  3. I have a huge family that I was blessed with by birth. My parents are from families of 7 and 11, so that leads to a lot of cousins and extended family. Mostly Irish extraction with some German, English & unknown mixed in.

    I’ve also been really lucky with the family that I’ve made. I don’t have any biological sisters, just one younger brother, but I’ve really got more siblings than that. My brother’s two closest friends are brothers to me. A couple of my younger cousins are my younger sisters. And I’ve got friends who are my sisters.

    I guess, now that I think about it, I’ve got a really big family. Of course, with over 30 first cousins, I was already on that route. 🙂

    I like today’s card, especially what Megan said about that, that sometimes it’s just about getting through the day.

  4. I, on the other hand, can fall asleep anywhere at anytime (unless my legs are achy then all bets are off) including sitting up in a bright classroom full of children. Not intentionally of course. I have trouble staying awake in the winter. January especially is difficult for me.

    On the other hand I have nice fat eyelids, so although I am white as the driven snow my eyelids function quite well.

    Although I am pale, pale, pale, I too come from mixed heritage. My mother was dark olive skinned with brown eyes and dark hair. The rumor was that we have native american blood from a few generations back. The other rumor is that it’s black irish blood. (My mother’s maiden name is Lynch – almost certainly some irish there – but if there isn’t my father’s father traced our lineage back to a castle in Scotland so there is some celtic (if not irish) blood there. Also German and a few other mundane european places!

  5. I’m with Anna in the big family area. My parents are both one of ten. I’m one of eight (seven living), and have four kids of my own. When I went to my uncle’s wake last night, my cousin introduced himself to me in the receiving line. I replied, “Hi Tom, I’m your cousin, Delia.” 🙂 (I think it’s the Catholic in us.) My father was Irish (my grandparents were immigrants) and my mom is French-Canadian, a direct import. I grew up in a small neighborhood, 10 houses on the street, where English, French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, and Polish were all spoken (and yelled out windows) regularly. It was fantastic.

    Between me and my very Mediterranean looking husband, my kids get Irish, Canadian (French), Italian, and Ukranian. It’s a pretty good smattering. We like it.

  6. My birth families are large. Mom was the oldest of 6 and Dad the youngest of 7. And everyone had at least 2 kids. We didn’t get together much with Mom’s family, but we did lots with Dad’s. When I was in elementary school and some bits of junior high, it was quite fun. But I haven’t had any contact with any of them in almost 20 years because in that family, either you are like them or you are BAD.

    Mom was Norweigan almost thru and thru. Three-quarters. Don’t know what the other quarter was. Dad was Cherokee and Welsh (and maybe a bit of other generic white thrown in), so he had darker skin and dark brown hair and eyes. My brother had all my mom’s coloring: fair skin, blond hair, sky-blue eyes. I got in the middle: my skin is fair, but when I was a kid I tanned super brown. My eyes are light brown, but the DMV insists they are hazel. Actually, there is a lot of green, gold, and copper in them, so ok, hazel. Hair, blonde when much sunlight is applied, mousy dark blonde/light brown in natural state, red in preferred chemical state. 🙂

    I like brown men, with or without accents. But I have dated men everywhere from palest white to darkest brown. I’m open-minded that way. 🙂

  7. Family: Two kids of parents who came from two kid families. Mom’s sister had 4 kids, none of her kids had kids, my Dad’s sister’s kids each adopted 2 kids and one had a third of their own. Not much closeness for a variety of reasons, mostly doing with generations, religion and geography as we were growing up. (My Dad’ sister/husband were much more like grandparents and their kids were much more like aunts, and their kids were much more like cousins). My Dad’s sister/husband were quite religious, which put a damper on a really close relationship with them, although I discovered as an adult I had WAY more in common with them than I had anticipated, and developed a close relationship with my aunt at the end of her life. My sister has one child. That is it for our generation, although I believe that some cousins have had kids, but they’re in Alaska.

    I can sleep in the daytime, but I need my blackout blinds and my white noise fan. I still need the fan sleeping at night. We were discussing “larks” and “owls” today, and some judgements that are held by one over the other, and the assumption that one “way” is the “right” way. Hurumph. Your way is right for you; don’t impose it on someone else.

    I like my chosen family. It is bigger and more diverse than my FoO.

    I haven’t heard anything about the wave hitting the coast yet.

    1. I had a novel-writing professor, my last time thru the UW. She would say that everyone’s way of doing things was valid … then say how getting up really early and writing first thing in the morning was truly the best way. Or that all genres were valid … then beat me up over how science fiction and fantasy were not “good” genres with any “good” writing. Bleh.

      I know about “larks” and “owls”, but what bird is referred to for those of us who really operate best in the middle part of the day? 🙂

          1. I was thinking about what birds I saw at Mom’s feeder in the middle of the day. Mostly gold finches and chickadees.

  8. Hey! I got your letter. You *do* realize that this officially makes you the woman who cuts things out of the paper and mails them to people, yes?

    Additionally, it’s ok that you have weird earlobes and dad has useless eyelids. Because the result was that myself and my siblings are both white enough to not get followed around at Nordstrom (really — I was downtown and had to pee last week and I just strolled in, went to the nice bathroom, and was like PRIVILEGE! YAY!) but “eclectic” enough to confuse people.

    Today, I got my WA driver’s license! And the man was like “Ok, your height’s the same, you’re an organ donor…eyes are…” looked up and went “Holy shit! Blue!” and I was like WORD. Thanks Dad and Grandsir combo.

    So, thanks for the genetics!

      1. Those eyes must be an amazing shade of blue! My family’s blue eyes only elicited the “pretty” sort of comment.

    1. A- this is my face about you getting a Washington DL: 😦

      2) yes, I have by-passed turning into my mother and gone directly to being my Grama Dorothy Madeleine, who was known, far and wide, for sending newspaper clippings in the mail.

      III ~ really glad your mixed genetics combined to make you guys all so lovely … yes Skye, those are some damn bright blue eyes!

      Lastly, very sad that you can’t be here for our meal, but yay for the bread. 😀

  9. Y’know, over at Lucy’s I suggested Betty Trading Cards. But here, I’m more tempted by the idea of Betty Tarot Cards!

    How do you figure out what one’s representative card is?

  10. Oh I love these stories of everyone’s blended backgrounds and family variations! 😮
    Thanks guys!!!

    Skye, I’ll take the designator card question as a jumping off point for its own post. Suggestions, ideas, and questions are always helpful, so thank you.

  11. 88% French/ 12% Scottish on mama’s side. English through and through on my daddy’s side. I do wish I spoke French fluently. It would have been so great to converse with the Tahitians. My big guy is 50% Irish, 25% English and 25% native or first nations as they say up here. Signing off now, only half way through all the blogs. So much to read, not enough hours. I missed so much.

    1. First of all, thank you for your diligence, in going back and catching up. My OCD thanks you as well. 😉

      Great blends you both come from too! Daniel and I actually remarked on First Nations when we watched some of the Olympic coverage (whenever that was recently), and how wonderful the name/title is. The performances that we saw were exremely beautiful.

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