Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Choices

There are times when we take a step forward.
There are times when we step back and wait.
For some, those choices are so hard
they are often too difficult to make.
Some of us see life from one side;
Everything is black/white - no grays.
But others can see the big picture
and understand that there are many ways...
 

Choices.  I wrote the lines above last week after I had experienced a sincere heartbreak in not being able to visit with a certain family member that I had wanted to see over the holidays. I realized so clearly at that time that life is full of choices and that often we make decisions based on what we think others want us to do. Do we try to “push” ourselves into the lives of others, or do we “step back and wait?” I’ve never been able to resolve that dilemma - I guess because I’ve always been one of those people who can so easily see all sides of most situations. That’s both a blessing and a curse, I can assure you.
We all make choices each and every day. Many times, we don’t know that those choices can be life-altering in some way. I know that my ancestors made choices, too, and some of those most definitely changed people’s lives.
Choices.  My maternal Grandfather, Baxter H. Wallace, made the choice to leave my Grandmother and my Mother when she was only a very young child. I’ve often wondered why. Of course, nobody can really know or understand what goes on in the relationship of a couple; did he choose to leave or did she ask him to go?  Nonetheless, I do know that he missed out on knowing a wonderful daughter and two fabulous grandchildren.  Unfortunately, we were also denied the acquaintance of three aunts, an uncle, and countless delightful cousins. How sad for all of us that particular choice was.
Choices.  My own Mother, Evelyne Frances Wallace Love, made the choice to not take her children to their Father’s funeral. We were very young, of course, and there had also been a very ugly divorce. Needless to say, she was not on good terms with his family. I remember that she did tell us that if we wanted to go, she would take us. But, as I said, we were so very young, yet we knew that she really didn’t really want to go. We both said “No, that’s okay.”  Except it wasn’t…I’ve cried many times wishing that I could go back in time and be there. Another very sad choice, as it turned out.
Choices.  My paternal Grandmother, Huldah Norma Akers Love, made the choice to never see her grandchildren again after that unpleasant divorce. Did she ever ask to see us?  Did my Mother say no?  I’ll never know. I only know that I saw her twice again in my life, both times after I became a mother myself…and both times were strained. Perhaps her anger towards my Mother over the divorce spilled over onto me. She and my brother had a much better relationship, and I’m glad about that. But her choice left me without knowing a Grandmother whom I would have probably really liked and maybe even come to love. I also lost the chance to know even more cousins who were actually living in my own city.
Choices.  I could go on, but the truth of the matter is that each of us have made - and every single one of our ancestors made - choices that most certainly changed our lives in major and often unintentional ways.
Today is the first day of a new year, bringing us new beginnings and new hopes. I’m hoping, praying, and yes, resolving, to make the best choices I can from this day forward.
Will you join me?
Lorena Sanford Wallace, holding her daughter,
Evelyne Frances Wallace, sometime in late 1919. She and her
husband, Baxter Wallace, would divorce in September of 1920
 
© 2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland
 
    
              


 

10 comments:

  1. Great column - it has made me think of my choices and how to resolve them from this point on. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Pat, for your comments. I'm glad that I could help others think about those choices, too. :)

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  2. Have a great new year! I'm glad I made the choice to join Geneabloggers. This is a great community of bloggers. I recieved a great Christmas gift this year which I was able to share in "An Early Christmas Gift" in my blog.

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    1. Thank you, Grant, I plan to have a great new year! Your blog is awesome...just joined as a 'follower' and loved your Christmas gift, too. :) (I'm really a total 'amateur' in blogging.) But choosing to join Geneabloggers was definitely a good choice - for both of us...

      Happy New Year to you, too.

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  3. OH wow! This article gave me the chills, wonderfully written and really hit home. Great job.

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    1. Thank you, Tina. Your praise means the world to me...

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  4. Well done, Carla! It really got me thinking how divorce and distance have served to alienate many sides of my own family.

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    1. Thank you, Jenny. Divorce does indeed change many things, and I'm so sorry that you, too, had to go through any alienation from family. It seems that in today's world, that has become the 'norm' rather than the opposite. I actually discovered (when I was in my 50s!) that I had dozens of cousins right here in my own hometown! Who knew? LOL

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  5. Thanks Carla. Makes me think this should include apathy amoung siblings who have moved far away from each other and just stay involved in their own little families. They forget the big picture or importance of it, such as having cousins really know each other or about their heritage. When I try to involve my family in this research I am doing I am getting no where. As my brother said to me recently, "you are talking about people we don't know". It isn't important to them. But if I finally get these books together and distributed to them I do feel one day they, their children and their grandchildren will finally appreciate it at some point, and wish they had taken the opportunity when it was available. It will all be ancient history by that time and the kids (as you were) will feel they were cheated. Family does not mean what it used to. Kathy Hancock Patick

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    1. Kathy, I totally understand - and I believe that you're doing the right thing to keep trying because, as you said, one day someone in the family WILL care. "Ancient history" comes all too soon, believe me!

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