When talking to people about what we like doing or something we’re good at, very often we talk about who in our family you ‘got’ the skill from.
It’s one of those weird little things that always gets me wondering…
I don’t know if I got given any skills from my family directly… for instance, I didn’t follow anyone in a particular trade or craft but I got encouraged to try lots of different things and I guess that’s how I learned what I liked doing and what I didn’t.
Looking at everything now makes me realise a lot of my family are quite creative in their own way and most of them surprised me growing up at how much they had a go at.
I have always loved writing since I was given my first Berol pen in primary school. I don’t know if it still works this way but once you had cracked your handwriting and spelling skills at my primary school you got ‘promoted’ from a pencil to a Berol pen and at the time it was a significant thing to me. I guess in my own nerdy way I would compare how I felt to how I imagine the kids in Harry Potter felt getting their own wand. I remember writing out random words from The Reader’s Digest books mom and dad had in ‘joined up’ to practice. I also remember feeling ashamed when a teacher picked me out in front of the class for hooking my hand (which I still do, #TeamLefties).
So with the writing came a lot of reading. The only person in my closest family I can remember vividly reading, especially fiction, whilst growing up was my nan. I remember being quite cross because she had a lot of books that had swollen from being read in the tub. I now realise it’s because she obviously enjoyed reading to relax but as a child, I remember being angry because I thought the books were being dropped in the water.
My parents themselves didn’t have much in the way of fiction, they had books but it was more practical, encyclopaedias, DIY books, cookbooks etc. however, I remember after one parent’s evening my mom was told that I was pretty good and reading and writing then a few days later she took me to our local library. I’d been with the school before but I was so curious that I kept my mouth shut and took getting my own library card very seriously. I felt like Matilda, except with a loving family. My dad always took whatever whimsical thing I wanted to do seriously ‘You want be a singer? Okay.’ ‘You want to build something out of twigs? Okay.’ ‘Painting a pebble? Okay.’
I also remember my aunty dabbling in calligraphy and stencilling as a hobby around this time. She helped me make a napkin/handkerchief typed thing for Mother’s day which had a yellow rose inked on to it and some writing underneath. I think my mom still has it somewhere. I just remember being fascinated by the calligraphy nibs because my Berol pen didn’t look like those.
My aunty has a flair for being creative in that she has a go at making or growing things herself; yoghurt, stencils, calligraphy, fruits/veg, and my favourite is her own version of Baileys.
My mom’s quite the gardener too. I don’t think she has any ‘undesignated’ area of her back garden left now. I still get random armfuls of veg when I go visit, last time it was huge green beans and an offer of beetroot. Mom also repurposes things. I guess it came from saving money originally but she has a knack for making things work or look nicer.
Going back to books I also have to thank my eldest brother for leaving his school books and other items lying around the house. I’d snoop through them and try to see what it was all about to be in high school. It was by this snooping that I saw just how good an artist he is and I was surprised that this football playing teenager could draw in such detail. If you’re reading this – I knew I was the annoying little sister sorry, not sorry. I wanted to draw like you.
When I got older I remember having this conversation with my mom and nan, asking them who in the family was ‘creative’. All of a sudden I found out that we had painters, glass makers, gardeners, seamstresses, builders, knitters, crocheters, all sorts of trades and crafts were listed off. I thought I must have some special bit in my blood that made me creative.
I’m old enough to realise now what it truly was – I didn’t inherit off my family, I didn’t take after one more than another… what I had was a family who were open to trying to new things and who worked hard to improve on them. I have probably missed off numerous other people and their creative pursuits, so again, apologies to anyone who’s related to me and feels ignored here – you aren’t it’s just I’d be here all day and this would end up being a weird skill based family tree, but I will say thanks. Thanks for making me realise that I take after all of you. 🙂