PORTLAND, Ore. -- I am starting a new blog to share some of my life with you "off the air." From my new ventures becoming a Grandma, and trying to learn to knit, to my thoughts about life and living in Portland.
And I hope you will join in the conversation with your comments and ideas for future blog topics. So, here's to what I hope is a deeper friendship.
Here's my second entry in "Off The Air" with Laural Porter.
I saw them right away.
In her ultrasound.
Kate's baby girl at 20 weeks had my long toes. I got them from my Mom. I am not sure who she inherited them from.
My brother used to make fun of my toes. They are distinctive, but they looked cute on the baby. And they've carried me a long way on a wonderful journey. They've been useful toes.
It wasn't the first thing I looked at when my first grandchild, Ella, was born on September 15. I was honored to be in the delivery room for her birth. But, I admit, I sneaked a peak early on as I counted all ten of her lovely, long, perfectly formed toes.
I wondered where Ella's toes will carry her. And how DNA from those toes have carried generations before her.
Soon after Ella's birth, my mom got the chance to hold her great granddaughter for the first time. I pointed out her long toes.
Mom said, "Oh, yes, the second toe is bigger than her big toe." She, too, knew those toes. We took a photo of our four generations. (We skipped the toes.)
My mom, me, my daughter, Kate, and her daughter, Ella.
As I looked at the photo, I thought about what we pass down through the ages. There are those physical characteristics like toes. The radiant red hair two of my daughters have from their dad and his Irish roots (and my recessive gene).
The beautiful blond hair my oldest daughter got from one side of my dad's Swedish heritage. (That's an interesting story for another blog).
The thick mane of mahogany hair my son inherited from my mother's father. He also got my dad's eagle eye vision (he was a Navy fighter pilot).
Then there are the things we'll see later. Her personality, her talents, and other hereditary hand-me-downs, both good and challenging. And the less tangible. What we build on from previous generations, like wisdom.
My husband is working on a project that has inspired me to work on that part. To reflect on the principles and values in my life. As a grandma, what do I want my granddaughter to see in me?
I've always thought my husband, Mike, to be wise. (He disagrees).
He is also humble. But, people who work with him often note that.
He works for WE Worldwide, Microsoft's PR firm, and is helping Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, launch his new book, "Hit Refresh."
Mike admires Satya and the message in his book.
"Hit Refresh" is about how Satya is helping transform Microsoft, but also his own personal journey, from his childhood in India, to the birth of his son, Zain, who was born with severe cerebral palsy, and the importance of finding empathy along the way, in your life as well as your work.
Bill Gates reminds us in the foreword to the book that hitting refresh isn't about breaking with the past. It's about keeping the best parts of the past and building on them.
Through Mike's work with Satya, I feel a call to "Hit Refresh." To build on what I've learned from my mom and her mom before her.
To renew my own sense of purpose to further serve humankind with empathy.
To live a life guided by the wisdom that a happy life is one with meaning.
I see that empathy in my Mom, a retired licensed clinical social worker who counseled hospital patients, troubled families, and abused children.
I see it in my own kids, including my daughter, Kate, Ella's Mom, who is an oncology nurse caring for people struggling with cancer.
That's something I hope we, three generations, pass on to our newest generation, little Ella. Consider it a wish -- along with the family toes -- to help carry her through a remarkable and meaningful life.