Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God Bless...Beep Beep

I spoke with my Aunt on the phone recently and she reminded me of this story and it got me to think'n.....

Most of you know when I was a little girl my father passed away. Leukemia. My mother found herself in the precarious position of being a widow with 2 small children (ages 5 & 2) at the tender age of 28. She didn't have a job nor did she have a college education. So, my dad, being the oldest of eight had a large family and they stepped up to the plate to help my mom out. My aunt came to live with us. She basically provided my mom with a live in nanny so my mom could get a job by day and go to college by night. I was only 5 at the time so I honestly have no conception of time. As far as my 5 year old memory is concerned it could have been 2 years she lived with us or just one month. I have no idea. But I remember that time very vividly. My Aunt made an impression on me and had a huge impact on my life. And she was only a young adult at that time. Maybe 19?

On a side note, and this has absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of this post, my Aunt is a dwarf. She stands less than 4 feet tall. I often wonder if I connected with her because she was my height at that time...or maybe it's because she was my father's sister. Whatever the reason, kids seem to be drawn to her as she has an incredibly wicked sense of humor.

But I digress...

So she came to live with us. And every time she would put me down for a nap or tuck me in at night she had a little ritual. She would lean over my bed, we would say our prayers, and she would then make the sign of the cross on my forehead with her thumb saying "God Bless" and then press my nose twice saying "Beep - Beep".

"God Bless Beep Beep."

This may sound like a silly little inconsequential gesture to you but it became oddly comforting to me. It was our little "thing." And I'm sure she did the same with my young brother at the time and she did the same with her future daughter. So it wasn't really "our" thing but my 5 year old self believed it was. I never knew, and often wondered, where that little gesture came from.

Until my Grandfather's funeral.

My Grandpa passed away several years ago. And at his funeral several of his kids (my Aunts and Uncle) stood up to share a few memories with all who mourned him. One of the stories that was shared was his nightly "God Bless Beep Beep" ritual. He did the same gesture to them every night before bed. And it touched them, enough to mention it at his funeral, the same way it touched me.

He had passed on this gesture to his kids, his kids passed on this gesture to me and probably all their own kids (my cousins), and now I pass on this gesture to my kids.

So this silly little inconsequential gesture has been passed on through 4 generations. Maybe more. Because now I wonder, where did my Grandfather get this? Did his mother (my Great Grandma) start this "God Bless Beep Beep" night time ritual when my Grandfather was a child? Did HER mother (my Great-great Grandmother) start this with HER in the Italian version of "God Bless Beep Beep"...which, according to free (and not so accurate) online translation, would be "Dio Benedice il segnale di segnale." Who knows? And maybe now my kids will carry on this silly little inconsequential night time ritual with their kids...and so on...

How many generations of this family will be touched by that one little inconsequential night time ritual? That one little piece of "whateveryouwanttocallit" has become a small part of SOMEone's legacy.

I wish I knew who that someone was.

So I could say thank you.

17 comments:

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

What a neat story Tammy. I love it when little things like this are handed down thru the generations. And I bet if you're doing it with your kids and they know the history behind the gesture, they'll do it with their kids too.

LittlePaintedPolkaDots said...

Geez! Why am I often crying when I read your blog???

I love that you shared this story. It is so very sweet.

God Bless..Beep beep, cousin!

WeaselMomma said...

What a great and wonderfully sweet story, but I just have to ask, does OCD run in the family?

Mama Smurf said...

Weasel mom - I left that part out...after the God-Bless Beep-Beep we open and shut the bedroom door 15 times and wash our hands for 30 minutes with antibacterial soap.

Mama Zen said...

I love this story!

Brooke said...

That is so sweet, made me teary! Love it.

April said...

I never knew about your father before - how wonderful that his sister was there for you and your family.

Kori said...

Fucker. made me tear up. love you anyway.

Nicki said...

That is so cool! I love little things like that, that make you feel connected to your whole family for generations back!

OHmommy said...

Seriously that is the sweetest story I have read in a long time. A very cool connection for many family members to come.

Nap Warden said...

Wow...what a great story to share. We call it the nose beek;)

Leslie said...

awww... i love that. Great story and a wonderful little gesture.

rofl at your response to weaselmomma. You crack me up!!

Noob Mommy said...

That was a beautiful story! I hope you don't mind if I borrow your family's little legacy and beep-beep my little one. It's so sweet. And I'm so happy for you and your family. It is obvious how close you are through the generations :)

Tara R. said...

Such a sweet family tradition. There is no telling how long it will continue. Thank you for sharing this story.

Danielle (Life with the Hewitt Family) said...

What a wonderful post! Such a sweet family tradition that has spanned generations!

McMommy said...

I'm with Noob Mommy...I want to borrow the beepbeep idea for my little ones!

You told such a heart-warming...I loved this post.

common mom said...

I love family traditions! Thank you for sharing this :-)