Today is Ancestor Appreciation Day, which is meant to be a day where you celebrate your heritage and your ancestry. Mine is a little blurry with just bits of information that my mother has given me, so I opted for a vintage camera for the day to bring a bit of the focus I wish I had. In truth, my family tree has so many forks in it that it’s all a bit of a mystery. My mother told me that my grandfather on my dad’s side pointed to where he came from on a map, but all she could remember was County Cork, Ireland. From there bits of Native American came into play including someone called “Blue” and nobody seems to know much of anything at all after that. I remember grilling her for these details once, but when they came back to me this convoluted, I was more confused than when I started. In truth, I would love to know my actual heritage, but I’m equally content celebrating the people that I actually did know that are no longer in my life. That grandfather who pointed to a map and my own father who has been gone now for over 15 years. My grandmother who almost made it to 100, but passed as the ripe old age of 99. These are my ancestors, though rather immediate, and I adore taking a moment to reflect on them and cherish the memory.
The only old photo I have in my possession is one of my mom’s side of the family. It shows her along with her three brothers and my grandmother and grandfather. Only two people in that photo are still alive today. My mother and one uncle. As time lurches forward, I know that one day, that photo will be the only thing left. A moment captured in time that can never be captured again. But I adore this photo and it’s one of my most prized possessions. I look at it every single day as a reminder of my heritage and the wonderful memories of childhood that spin back to me when I view it. So many things have changed over the years, and I myself continue to grow older each and every day. But when I see those people at that time when I wasn’t even an idea that might happen, it always brings me comfort. Life is richly grounded in the past, but we actually live each day in this very moment. What we choose to do with it is everything in the world. We won’t be here forever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of every moment we experience along the way.
When I look at that old photo, I see the gleam in each person’s eye. The thoughts there, that are imagining something awesome, something even better than what is taking place in that moment. We all have this feeling burning in our soul and it’s the very thing that makes us human. Whether we know our actual heritage precisely or not, we can rest assured that we come from a long line of dreamers. That’s the very definition of being a human being. Sure, there’s those super creative folk we all admire, but dreams are not limited to people like that. We all share an amazing heritage, with each one of our ancestors imagining something more incredible that just might happen around that next corner. And in this moment, I’m humbled by the sheer thought of all of those dreams that came before me. I’m not the first of my ancestors to imagine something amazing, nor will I be the last. It’s hardwired into our souls. We’re not here to only admire history, but to make a little of our own along the way. That’s the beautiful circle of life that makes each and every day Ancestor Appreciation Day.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!