what led up to this project?


as i am continuing to discover, it seems that much about my childhood was different than that of my generation of 20-somethings. i had parents who were 42 and 50 when i was born, not because they were waiting until later in life to start having children as some people do today, but because i was the youngest in a line of eight. the more i witness divorce and single parent homes the more i learn to appreciate the fact that i was raised in such an extremely stable environment, a haven for creativity and growth.

although my father was an attorney and my mother a teacher, they encouraged us all in the arts and literature. all eight of us graduated with various degrees in the liberal arts - painting, music, dance, classics, environmentalism, and education. being the youngest, i am the lucky one with my four older sisters and three brothers as mentors. they have all followed their passions and lead lives filled with art, children, music and dance.

growing up in this environment, i have always found my closest friendships with my siblings, with my parents. the path of my adulthood has been finding the healthy balance between separation and dependence. i think our closeness, and being part of such a family has given me a passion for FAMILY -- and wanting to learn more about our larger family. learning about the generations that came before and how the choices that they made influenced their childrens' lives and eventually, through my mother's life, have led to my life and the choices that i make.

andrea, one of my sisters, recently told me about a book she was reading describing families in sweden during especially difficult times -- the survival rate of children was low and parents were not allowing themselves to become emotionally attached to their own children in order to save themselves from the grief and heartache of loss.

interviewing my mother's siblings i experienced some difficulty in getting them to be open in response to questions dealing with personal relationships between siblings, and parents. also questions that asked them to reflect about their life choices were difficult. i think there could be many reasons for this -- their level of comfort with me as an interviewer, lack of time provided to reflect upon their answers, their generation perhaps, their swedish heritage, their lifestyles after marriage and kids, or perhaps the patterns they learned during childhood. but whatever the reasons - i am so grateful for the stories they did share with me and i want to preserve them and add to them for my extended family to share.

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