My siblings and I usually go in on a gift to my parents for Christmas and for 2015 I convinced my brothers and sisters to get Mom and Dad registered for Roots Tech in Salt Lake City for their Christmas present. I was going anyway and I figured it would be something they would enjoy as well. Fingers crossed! Once they "opened" their gift, we had a lot of back-and-forth on how this was going to work. Dad and I worked out which classes we wanted to be in and we had Mom go with one or the other of us, depending on her level of interest.
Our day started with a long drive to the Salt Palace in rush hour traffic. That wasn't great, but we found a good parking spot and got in just as the first keynote speaker was introduced. Brian joked with me that there would be music and lights and they would pump us up like they do for computer developer conferences. Ha! Yeah, right. But they did! Let's get this family history party started!!! The first keynote speakers were a husband and wife blogging team from New York. They are young and they take beautiful photos and movies of them with their kids. I have to admit that I was worried that this was what we were going to get - I already blog and document our lives and tell our stories. I wondered if Roots Tech was a huge mistake. THEN! David Isay, founder of StoryCorps, took the stage. This company started with a sound booth in Grand Central Station where two people could go and have their interview/conversation professionally recorded and archived for posterity. Simple. He played one excerpt of a granddaughter interviewing her 91 year-old grandfather and it was beautiful and wise and I cried. After playing that first excerpt, Mr. Isay said that people cry during these interviews 100% of the time. Why is that? When we have a chance to sit face-to-face and really talk to one another it is a spiritual experience. Also, he quoted Mother Theresa who said that we can't help but love a person once we hear their story. It was fantastic and meaningful and I loved it.
Another highlight was our FindMyPast- sponsored lunch. While we finished eating (Thanksgiving Dinner, my fave!), an Irishman explained the deal with Irish records. They're not all lost! They weren't all burned in a fire! Take heart, Irish descendants.
I enjoyed my solo class on how to read Danish and Swedish records and the class I had with Mom on how to get my grandchildren to be interested in their family history.
Our final class was on using the Joseph Smith Papers as a primary source in our own family history stories. That project is taking every single word written by or to Joseph Smith and documenting it with references. They will have 22 volumes by the time they finish! These are not small books. And Joseph Smith was killed before he was even 40 years old. So he spent, like, 75% of his time writing. The class was fascinating - I'm excited to implement what they showed us. And I'm excited to tell my own story in this way - so that my children and grandchildren have my story from me in a verifiable format.
I only saw one person I knew (I found out later that I knew plenty of people there, I just didn't see them), the head of the Missionary Department and my old boss, Steve Allen. He asked me what I'm doing now and I told him I'm a Mom. :)
When we got home Brian had made a Mississippi roast that we put on toasted buns with pepperocinis. I highly recommend. Then I slept like the dead and forgot to set my alarm. My hair was ridiculous for the temple the next morning, but we still had a lovely time there with my parents.
Then it was time for Grandma and Grandpa to leave. Grandma Peggy brought her American Girl doll, Lena, to play with Bridget's doll. Back in December I gave my Mom a yard of red wool to play with and she made that amazing coat for Bridget's doll, Analy. It's lined, you guys! WHAT?! I get can't get over it.
As you may know, I'm the second of eight children. I believe this was the first time I'd been alone with my parents ever. :) Their Christmas gift ended up being more for me than anyone. I'm energized and my faith in humanity is restored. People are good! I can feel the love. :)
Now I'd better get back to my work.