We can't escape our genes or the influences previous lives have had on our own. We can't help ourselves from influencing the younger people who come after us, any more than we can change the color of their eyes. I see my grandmother's face in my niece. Life is lived in reverse and forward all the time.
We're all getting older, every second of every day. Quite a few of us spend a lot of time worrying about it, but worrying isn't going to change reality. All we can really do is leave a mark on the world we live in. I don't have children, so I think about my legacy in other ways than passing on genes. Maybe my paintings are my babies? Maybe baking cookies with my niece is a way of leaving something of myself behind? Plus, it lets me leave something of my mother and grandmother, and probably their mothers and grandmothers too.
My great great grandmother fascinates me because she was a doctor before women did that kind of thing. There's something in her portrait that commands respect. Laura Elizabeth "Lizzy" (Poulson) Cramer was born April 16, 1854 in Holmes County, Ohio. She died in 1910 in Fredricksburg, Ohio. She was married May 17, 1877 to Bertram "Happy" Cramer, who was a blacksmith. You've got to love a guy named Happy! He was born in March, 1853 in Fredricksburg, and died in 1912. They had 3 children, John (Helen Lemmon), Charles (Ella Snure), and my great grandmother, Jennie Marie (Jefferson Joseph "Joe" Benson).
Lizzy used herbs in her healing. I grow them in my garden and make healing teas. My sister Sue is a nurse. The string of blacksmiths in my family might explain why my brother and uncle love making jewelry, or another brother's incessant banging when he was a kid. Happy played the violin, which might explain my nephews' musical talents. Not to mention Happy's father was a type maker, which might explain my love of lettering class in college?
Maybe sometimes looking forward also means looking in the rear view mirror once in a while? I'm also feeling gratitude that I'm not the first packrat in my family interested in history :)