Gifts from Our Ancestors

Most of us know that the gifts we have didn’t spring forth out of nowhere. When we’re little, we’re bound to hear “you draw beautifully just like your mother did at your age,” or “you have your dad’s ability for working with numbers.”

You don’t need any advanced knowledge in genetics to know that our temperaments, strengths, and weakness are inherited from our parents, and their parents and so on. Each of us is a fascinating and unique combination of inherited traits.

How far do these gifts go back? I recently received the results of my DNA test and there wasn’t a report on when my ability to draw showed up or my love for cats. But to keep things simple, it’s fair to assume that some of our gifts go back to our most distant human ancestors.

One way to think about our ancestors is by “lineage.” All of us have four primary lineages: our mother’s mother, mother’s father, father’s mother, and father’s father.

Each lineage is composed of mothers or fathers. So my mother’s mother’s lineage is composed of my mother, her mother (my grandmother), my grandmother’s mother (great-grandmother) and so on.

I can look at the gifts that came to me through this long line of women. Among the gifts of these women were a good sense of humor, they were wonderful cooks, craftspersons, and enjoyed created comfortable homes . They were nurturing Earth Momma types who loved to create objects of everyday beauty. From the time I was small, I loved to draw and doing crafts like embroidery, candle making, and needlepoint. I had a knack for seeing something and figuring out how to recreate it without much instruction.

When I think about these women I often imagine an elderly woman who is sitting in a walled garden. The garden is filled with flowers and fruit trees. I watch bees moving among the flowers gathering pollen and hummingbirds dart quickly through the warm scented air. This grandmother is often sitting at a small table with a pot of hot tea, small cups, and a plate of pastries like baklava. When I show up she is always delighted to see me. She greets me warmly and offers me tea and something sweet to enjoy.

I like asking this grandmother for advice when it comes to creative projects. Sometimes she will ask me directly to create something. Sometimes she simply expresses her pleasure for a project I’m working on. She is always loving and always encouraging. Just like a grandma should be.

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