Family History: a map for the adventure of life

larch-forest-358059_640Last month I had an incredible experience. I was present for the birth of my nephew. It’s not the first birth I’ve been present for, I have three sons of my own, but it is the first where I was fully overwhelmed by the intensity of the situation. I wasn’t listening for my cue to push or holding my breath and bearing down. I was just there, committed to the moment, and as trite as it sounds, witnessing the miracle life. And what a miracle it is.

When my nephew took his first breath I was unprepared for the flood of emotions. Unlike the birth of my own children, at a time when my adrenaline was pumping and my heart exploding with love and gratitude, I was enveloped by a fury of anxiety and devotion. This perfect little person came into the world more loved than most with years of life to live.

And life can be messy. Life can hurt.

But knowing family that will always support him and stand by him through the valleys and peaks of life, will give him the courage to get messy. To get hurt.

When we’re born, we’re born into a family with complexities, eccentricities and deep-rooted psychologies. We’re not simply a mash-up of genetic material. We’re a complicated, mash-up of generations upon generations.

And if for nothing else, preserving my family’s history serves as a map for the adventure of life.

Advertisement

Favourite Springtime TV Binge: Call The Midwife

imgres-2I have been down and out with the flu, so forgive me if this post is less than inspired.  I have spent the past week living like a shut-in with hopes of containing this retched bug and smothering it with plenty of rest.

The result of a week confined to bed rest?  TV brain.

I am sure there is no need for me to lament the lack of quality television. The truth of it is even most commercials are painful to watch.  Who waves about a pregnancy stick, laden with URINE, in their friend’s face (husband’s face, okay) while proclaiming that they are 2 weeks pregnant?  I don’t know about you, but I tend to take my friend’s word for it when they tell me they are pregnant.

There are an abundant number of plot lines that focus on trying to get pregnant, looking good while pregnant, being pregnant, birthing babies, surviving baby . . . you’d think that babies were a relatively new phenomenon.

Most of these programs can’t hold my waning attention for more than a few minutes except for the BBC series, currently featured on Netflix, Call The Midwife.

Call The Midwife is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, whom worked as a midwife in the late 1950’s in London’s poorest quarter.  Upon starting work with the nuns of Nonnatus House, Jenny is confronted by the reality of life in the tenements, a far cry from her sheltered middle class childhood: soiled living conditions, infestations, condemned buildings.  With each birth she’s present, Jenny’s pre-existing ideas of love and family are challenged and in time she begins to see the women in her care not as charity cases but as heroines.  These women are raising broods of children, and trying to make the most of their pittance, sometimes while overcome by illness or heartache. imgres-1

Call The Midwife is a reflection on post-war England, the start of the National Health Service and the changing role of women in society – so much more than getting pregnant/being pregnant/having babies!

I happily devoured the first season while nursing my aches and pains and judging by the response on Twitter, I am not the only one!