Today has been Remembrance Sunday in the UK which has some poignance for me. Of my grandparents, two served in Navy late in WW2 (well Granny in Wrens) which is how they met on a wireless operators course. My other grandfather was a radar boffin from 1939 – which I did not know till I was doing my MSc in 1997/8. I knew he had been in Air Ministry on a summer placement in 1939 before returning to Queens’ College, Cambridge to do a PhD in Physics but until then had always been told he was in RAF. I am incredibly proud of the work he did as well as the work his brother did as an engineer involved in jet engine research. Unusual family in that both brothers were not in uniform, but both contributed greatly in their own ways although never really talked much about it. My Wren Granny I have in the last year discovered was actually in Y service acting as a listener to enemy transmissions which went to Bletchley Park for decoding so again an important role. My other grandmother was a cook and housewife – they married during war and my aunt was born in 1943.
No-one in immediate family was lost in WW2 but the First World War was a different matter as various brothers of my great-grandparents were lost along with one great-grandfather being gassed. My brother has the death medal for one of our great-great uncles as the only male known to the family in our generation. But very few families were unaffected by the Great War. One day I hope to visit the battlefields and indeed show them to Sqk. Both DH & I are keen for things not be forgotten – both were very close to our grandfathers who served and want to pass that onto our son in terms of a personal link when he studies these times in school.
I wear a poppy throughout early November as an act of humility and thanksgiving for those who gave so much that we have the life we have today. Watching Countryfile from North-eastern France earlier, DH was explaining the significance to Sqk in simple terms. We also went to church parade this morning – where we met his FC & foster-siblings. We were expecting that as his foster-sister is a member of the Brownie Pack that my mother has been involved wi on & off for nearly 23 years. Sqk spent most of the service with DH in crèche, but I once again was reminded of my faith as I stood singing and feeling closer to God. I am not a regular attended now but being a Christian is an important part of what makes me me. I live my life by the value system it gives me. Earlier is evening Sqk was reciting the simple prayer they use in his school nursery (church school) and he is starting to understand things. I will never force my faith on him but while he is happy to go to church will take him. In a fortnight, he is being christened – by our lay pastor (Methodist here). I was so happy when I discovered he could baptise Sqk as I do not know the ministers in the circuit, but have known him for nearly 23 years. He was a person who had an influence on me in my late teens and is himself an adopter from foster care. So he understands where we come from and has similar very liberal views to those I hold about the literalness of the bible, sexuality and various other things. Which means DH likes him as well.
Today has been one of remembrance and for me some sadness in that only one of my grandparents has met Sqk, and only my grandmothers have seen me with DH. I have memories (vague in one case) of all my great-grandmothers and was close to both my grandfathers. One of my abiding memories of our early days is my Granny saying about DH was Grandad would have approved – I lost him 5 months before we met.
Sqk adores my Granny and is always pleased to see her when she is staying with my Mum. He has only met his other great-grandmother (technically step, but she was DH’s Granny as he grew up) once but she is equally fond of him. Both are coming to Sqk’s christening which is lovely along with a fair amount of my more distant family (aunts & uncles, cousins and the like). DH says I have a huge family which I don’t think I have, but in comparison to his (granny, parents & sister) I suppose I do. Both his parents are only children which may also be part of the reason he is more comfortable than I am for Sqk to be an only child.
Hmmm this has turned into a ramble which has sort of got off topic. Such is usual for me, but I need sleep so better finish here.