Is Will Be What Was

I like to think in backwards and forwards motion.   I love thinking of history.  As it relates to me and my life.  And history way prior to my life.  I like to think of the future.  As it relates to me and my life.  And the future way beyond my life.  I continually imagine all history of my family.  All of the lives lived and experiences spent getting to me.  Right here.  Right now.  And I love thinking that in the far away future there will be a child of a child of a child of a child of a child of mine thinking about all those before her/him.  And that might include me.

And right this very minute I am thinking of  that far away child, thinking of me.  HEY!  Child in the future!!!  I lived a great life!  Right now it is 4:28 p.m. on February 27, 2010.  (And now again it is 4:43 a.m. on June 5th 2014)  I’m thinking about YOU, and hope that you are thinking about ME!   Which, if you are reading this, than you probably are.   How cool is this?  I’m sitting in my house wondering what kind of world you will have.  I hope we didn’t screw it up too much.  I hope we stopped ourselves from being totally selfish about what is here, and saved some of it for you.

Anyway, I digressed there for a minute.

So if I am thinking forward one minute, you can bet I am at some point thinking of those before me.  Did they think of time past them?  Did they wonder where their family line would go?  What their children’s children’s children would see and do.  And would we think about them?

I know this is a recurring theme for me, but the reason I am thinking on this again is because of Grace O’Malley and a piece of paper I came across earlier today that I found in my dad cabinet.

Her Little Hand In Mine

The sketching we did of our hands is not that long ago.  But it marks a moment when she sat on my lap and she was small enough to sit there.  We traced our hands and for that moment mine was bigger.  Her’s was little and unsure.  In the future this will likely turn around some.  She will become the stronger and more sure.   Some might think that thinking backward and forward might take me out of the loop of living today.   To me it has the opposite effect.  In being so aware and curious about what was, and being so curious about what will be:  I live fully hoping that someone from before wondered what life would be like now.   And I hope someone in the future is curious about what was. I try to  live so as not to let them, or myself, down.  I was so aware of her littleness at that moment, and my largeness and the security I was to her for that moment.  I was so in that moment with her.  This is a moment of us.  It was a present for the future.  And for her past.

I hope my present is a future gift to someone’s past.

53 thoughts on “Is Will Be What Was

  1. Beautiful. From the words I read on your blog, it sounds like you will be leaving a beautiful legacy. Also, what a better way about looking at the past and the future. I have had it all wrong. I berate myself over the past, and worry about the future. It’s something I have been working on for years to change. I’m almost there. It’s words such as yours, that help me even more.


    • April you are too kind. It seems from your words you do a very good job of remembering and future thinking. 🙂 I’m excited about the dreams you talk of. And I pause when you think of those past.


  2. The concept of thinking that my life and how I live
    It will make a difference in the life of a future
    person inspires me. I often think of how those before
    me helped me have the life that I do now. I will do
    my best to make a positive difference .
    Thank you , Colleen and Grace O’Malley:)


    • Awww….well, you know… A lot of people just like to stay right here in the present and that’s wonderful! I like filling my dreams and contemplations and curiosities of what is going to be made to happen by those left behind me.

      Thank you Marissa.


  3. Colleen,

    The 1st thing I noticed was the interlooping handprints and thinking how cool is that. We have around here several handprints of Allison’s in various stages of her early early years in school but never once did it occur to us to do the interlooping, it makes so much sense to do that. Hell it should be a training tool for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. At that way you could capture those moments at least twice. I will admit I don’t look to the past very often, but I do from time to time. Heck I write about MY past on a regular basis, and have spent a little on my parents and grandparents. I even have a book on my desk that takes my mom’s side of the family back until the early 1700’s. And I have used it as a reference point several times over the years. But I forever thinking of the future, and hoping and praying that I am not part of the problem group that is screwing up the present, thus making it difficult for Cari, and her descendants in the future. As always a thought provoking post, I love how you force me to think sometimes.

    Please take care, Bill


  4. Love your title, and the photo. Have you ever written letters to your future self? I would imagine you must have, if you hold imaginary conversations with your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren 😉


  5. This is such a thought provoking post. When someone years, and even generation from now, think of us, what will they be thinking about? What will we leave in our place to be remembered for? Did we love, did we help others? Did we make a positive change in the world, in others? What will I be remembered for? hmmm Thank you for this.


  6. I don’t often think about my family’s history but I think about “the past”– in general– a lot. Mostly because my mind feels very small and so these things sort of blow it away. Just earlier I was at the gym and thinking about how there are trees growing in California that were there when the conquistadors were coming ashore. It all just sort of makes my brain hurt and makes me feel very small, which is a welcome feeling.


    • That kind of makes a huge statement. Ironically, since it is about how small you (we) feel thinking about this.

      TREES! I sometimes see huge old awesome trees and think of how much of life they see. THEN I have thought…wait…. this part of earth has been through so many thousands and thousands of cycles…. forrest to barren to under water…..trees struck by lightening to make it barren again. And really…. how many civilizations have cycled through any of our areas? It amazes me.


      • Yes, I always think of civilizations too! I’m so glad my boyfriend is addicted to wikipedia and googling random things because he can always answer my weird curiosities.

        I found the most amazing tree just a bit ago while I was out for a walk. I have to go back with my phone so I can take a photo… it was pure magic.


  7. I rarely think of the future, but in true Irish style I often think of the past. Did you ever hear of Grace O Malley or Granuaile an infamous figure in Ireland. She was a pirate who led an amazing life? She is a character I am so interested in.


  8. Here is the single best word I can think of to describe your connection to the past and future, Colleen.


    You are so aware of your family history.

    You are so aware of what your family future will be.

    There are not many people around like you, my friend. Future Browns, carry on with Colleen’s awareness. It is a great thing.


  9. I felt a little sadness seeping into this post. Maybe it was just nostalgia. I hope you never lost Grace… I am unsure of why I feel that way when I read this post.
    I like the idea of looking forwards and backwards. I wish we could retrace some steps, prefer the funny movie, “Groundhog Day,” to my view of being serious and trying to ‘fix’ any mistakes I made back when I was a young and single Mom! Thanks for this thought-provoking post. It was one that will be on my mind for awhile. Take care and enjoy your weekend, Colleen! Smiles, Robin


    • I think it’s more nostalgia than sadness really. Though with the nostalgia I do sometimes get sad that I don’t “know” more about what was.

      I never lost Grace…though her littleness is passing us by quickly. If I lost Grace or one of the other three I don’t think I’d be capable of being ‘here’.

      I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend yourself! 🙂


  10. Those of us interested in our pasts will think about the future as you describe. It is abnormal to be normal… Or is it the other way around? I also think of it as the continuation of the family name (at least from our line). Now, there are only four males with our last name. If none have male children, our name stops. Actually, there are truly only two: my two boys.

    With all your readers, you can be assured ONE of your descendants will know…


  11. I really think very similarly, Colleen.I think because I know so much about my family tree, and have stories that date back a very long way, I feel that connection going backward. And because of my total adoration of the grandchildren, and my brother’s grandchildren, nieces and nephews, I think that it is important to me to leave a mark that means something even after I’m gone. My grandmother told me the story of her mother, who died when my grandmother was 10, making a point of telling her children that she prayed every day for the generations of “her family” that were yet to come. I would have been one of those prayed for decades before I was born. The legacy of what that means impacts me greatly and I think of it often. I feel those connections and want my grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on to have those same feelings. That’s my hope. 🙂


  12. I love the hands! And a good point. At times I think of the ancestors who came before me so I could be, and then I think of what will happen down the line. But at times it can be hard, as the most constant thing is really this moment; yet, even in this moment I realize I have had an effect on many. A deep thought that now leads me to even more thinking. Great post, Colleen, seriously, love the hands 🙂


    • I know what you mean about the hands. Of course when we did them I had no idea I would be writing this. But I still remember sitting at that big square table and doing the tracing. Love it. You are right though, about the present being the THE moment.


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