This year on our annual vacation to Fish Lake, I had the chance to talk to T at the back of the boat while we were fishing.  Somehow we came upon the topic of eating the fish we caught and where the guts go and how the different animals depend on each other for survival.  All of that led to a discussion about how families are formed and how they depend upon each other for survival.  We learn from the people who were here before us.

I started with a brief lesson in ecological science and swung wide into how we are all connected and dependent on each other. We discussed grandmothers, and grandfathers, and his dad, his place in our family and how his actions either draw people to him or push them away.

In T’s Kindergarten program they sang the song colors of the wind from the Disney film Pocahontas.  T is quite musical and loves to sing so learning lyrics for him is quite easy.  I reminded him of the lyrics and I also believe I referenced the Lion King in our conversation about the circle of life.  It was a Disney moment in the middle of a big lake for sure.

Did I mention the fish were not biting?

I have always been fascinated with native people and traditions.  I relate my own beliefs to the native people of north America.  Somewhere I have to have native blood in my DNA.  One of the concepts I have always found comforting is the belief that we are on a continuous spiral, a circle that doesn’t end.  I know love doesn’t die, so it makes sense to me that life is on an infinity loop.  Families are forever and whatnot…

T has struggled since Jerry died.  He is angry his dad made a choice to leave him.  He worries constantly something will take me from him.  He has separation anxiety something awful.  He is forever asking why and unfortunately he has seen his fair share of death in his brief years on earth.  He loves Adam and even told him so earlier this spring.  But he is so scared he is going to be hurt; he pushes him away by being a brat.

Nobody tells you how to deal with grief and kids because it is different for each one. T has been in therapy since Jerry died, he’s done remarkably well.  It’s just the little things now like kids talking about their dads that make him sad  His brothers have tried to help but they know a different dad than the one T had and it causes him to have feelings of jealousy.  T has started to create his own story of who his dad was and that can be hard sometimes too.

In my family T is part of the 5th living generation on my mom’s side, my boys comprise that 5th generation along with my niece and nephew.  I was fortunate to know the 3 generations ahead of me.  I guess there are really only 3 generations living but we had 5 for awhile when Stetzon and Lex were little.  At any rate I knew my great grandparents, grandparents, parents, and myself rather well.

My mom, Vaunette, has watched T for me since Jerry died.  She talks about my great grandmother Delores, Granny to her and I, with him all the time.  T thinks Granny was a super hero, and she was, all 4 foot 11 of her.  Granny could do anything.  She delivered most of Juab county from 1920-1950.  Birth a baby, cook up meals for the family, clean the homes of local residents, and run a boarding house.  She was forever feeding people and serving others.  I hope I live to be half as good as she was.

I talk about my grandparents Lucille and Vaundel all the time too which has given T a sense of belonging to more than just me.  Having the influence of the 4 generations ahead of him both those alive and those gone before can be seen in the questions he asks.  My mom told him that her dad had died too and the empathy he showed her was remarkable for a little kid.

When I think of the women ahead of me in my lineage I often like to picture us holding hands in a circle.  For some reason I also include my grandmother Lucy, Delores’ mother, in our circle.  5 Generations of women celebrating our accomplishments, achievements, sorrows, and hardships.  My grandma Lucy died in 1918 when my Granny was 12 years old.  She did not let us forget her.

So back to the boat, T and I were talking about how we are all connected.  We recently watched the movie Coco and I asked T how he felt about remembering all of our ancestors like Coco did and how important it was to remember them.  We then started a relevant review of connections he could understand.

Adam’s dad Dave had an immediate connection to T the first time he met him.  Adam was shocked when Dave told T he loved him something he has never failed to say when we leave.  Adam’s dad also knew Jerry’s dad from the auto shop days.  We talked about how Grandpa Hen would be so happy to know T was being taken care of by an old friend.

Tate and T squared live in the subdivision I grew up in and reside in Huber’s old house.  Lance Huber was my first official date as a 16 year old.  Adam did Dr. Reiser’s kitchen, I worked for Dr. Reiser.   Connections are every where, you just have to look for them.  Adam tells me I look into things to much, he might be right but connections bring me comfort and reassurance that I’m on the right path. 

T has Jerry’s chocolate brown eyes and I told him he had his dad’s eyes so when I look at him I am reminded of his dad and that is his connection to him.  He just has to look in a mirror to remind himself of what his dad’s eyes looked like.

I told him his dad and Adam were friends and dad trusted Adam to help T grow up.  He wouldn’t have left him without someone to help him.  It was a circle since we are all connected like one big hoop and he looked at me with childlike innocence and said “like the song mom”.

“Yes, baby boy like the song”.

As you do good deeds and take care of others by being helpful and kind your hoop gets bigger with more friends and family connected to your hoop but if you live badly and treat others unkindly or are demanding and bossy your hoop gets smaller.  Do you want a big hoop or a little hoop?  T wants a big hoop.  He told me so on the boat.  Then he sang this song back to the dock.

Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas, 1995)

You think you own whatever land you land on
The earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sun-sweet berries of the earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they’re worth
The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other,
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or let the eagle tell you where he’s been
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind

How high does the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you’ll never know

And you’ll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
For whether we are white or copper-skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountain
Need to paint with all the colors of the wind
You can own the earth and still
All you’ll own is earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

Songwriters: Alan Menken,Stephen Laurence Schwartz
© Walt Disney Music Company
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind


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