When you look around your home, where are the pictures of your family? Is it only your immediate family or do you have drawing, sketches or portraits of ancestors from days gone by?
It is an odd concept to consider my grandparents as ancestors, but I suppose to my son, they would be. I never knew my Great-Grandfather Antonio Aquilini nor my Great-Grandmother Agata Ciuffa. I simply knew they hailed from Antrodoco, Italy and that I was part Italian.
I find ancestry fascinating. We read stories and watch documentaries of world wars, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, and yet somewhere in all of that, we have a distant relative. A 565 times removed Great-Grandparent. It is rather neat if you think about it.
We have black and white pictures all over our house of both living relatives and ones that have since passed. We feel that it is important for Jack to see them and learn who they are. After all, “I’m still Jenny from the block” only remained Jenny from the block because she remembered where she came from…according to her song. Sing it, J-Lo. Sing it.
We have the Popplewell’s, the Johnson’s, the Bosley’s and the Aquiline’s (Or Aquilini to be correct) on our wall so we can point out who everyone is and share relevant stories to help shape Jack’s perspective on the value of history.
One photo that hangs along the staircase is of my Papa Tommy. It is a small black and white photo where he is out for dinner with my Nan, Pearl. Next to that photo is one of Papa Tommy in his 70’s sporting a cowboy hat that he loved to wear.
I share that to tell this:
We call my Dad; Papa Rob. We also have a picture of my Dad on the wall, and have Jack say goodnight to it so he understands that he is apart of his life everyday even though he lives in Penticton (Formerly Cloverdale, Go Retirement!).
Jack is sitting in his high chair and while eating we play the game, ‘Where’s this? Where’s That? Who’s That?’ When Kirstin asked him “Where is Papa?” Jack looks at the picture of my Dad; then pauses. He turns his body and points at my Papa Tommy and says “Pa-pa, Pa-pa, Pa-pa”.
Some time later we are playing upstairs, she asks him numerous questions in which he finds and points. Naturally, we are curious and we ask “Where is Papa?” Jack waddles over with his little chubby legs to the staircase and points to the wall where the pictures hang, “Pa-pa, Pa-pa.”
When we walk upstairs, Jack goes bananas for those two pictures and will babble at them as if he knows who he is. Such joy comes from his face when he sees Papa Tommy. If we ever stop on the base of the stairs, he reaches for the man in the cowboy hat with such glee and warmth.
How would he know that? Did I say it before and he absorbed it with great memory? Perhaps…
Papa passed away in 1998; 20 years ago. I don’t know what happens after we leave this rock, but wherever we go, maybe it is possible to stop and visit a Great-Grandchild from time to time.
I don’t have the answers, all I know is Jack seems to know who my Grandfather is and it proves to me when it comes to the matters of the afterlife and the youth, I still don’t know Jack.