28 June 2011

What if...?

I owe my existence to a drunken Irishman.
My ancestor was heading to Australia with his brothers but got drunk, missed his boat and got stuck here in Auckland instead.
What if he had not been drunk that day? Would I be an heiress to the Grace Brothers dynasty, speaking with an Aussie twang... or would I exist at all?

I've been thinking about the near-misses in my ancestry. If just one thing had been changed... where would I be?

What if my great-grandmother had not run away from her marriage to New Zealand when my grandfather was two years old? Would I be eating Cornish pasties in Redruth, England... or would I exist at all?

What if my grandfather had chosen a different boarding house to lodge at, instead of my grandmother's aunt's place? Would they still have met? Fallen in love? What if they hadn't? My mother would have never been born. So where would I be?

What if those Irish boys on my dad's side didn't have such a temper? Would they have beaten up their landlord and had to run away to the coast to avoid incarceration or hanging? What if the first ship they found had been headed to America instead of Downunder? What if the ship had sailed straight to Sydney instead of going via Auckland? My drunken great-grandfather would not be buried somewhere in the old Symonds Street cemetery. I wouldn't be a Kiwi... if I existed at all.

What if my mum had stayed home the night of that party in 1968? What if she never met my dad?
What if she'd gone ahead and married The Ugly Pom or Dave Crawford... or one of her many other beaux... before my dad had the chance to chat her up?

What if my dad wasn't a Catholic? What if she hadn't listened to him and had taken the contraceptives...? Would I have been born later... or not at all?

My existence hinges upon a series of coincidences. My world-travelling ancestors united from all points of the globe to eventually cross paths and get me born... Romania, Italy, Ireland, England...

Our children continue the tradition of near-misses.

What if Mr G's dad hadn't remarried and moved to New Zealand...? What if Mr G had decided to continue to Australia after visiting his long-lost dad (as he had planned)?
What if he wasn't lost that day on the way to his job interview? What if he'd asked someone else for directions instead of that pastor's wife out weeding her garden? What if she'd never challenged him to think about why God brought him to this country...? What if he didn't turn his life over to God... move to Auckland... find a flat with some guys who went to my church...?

We would never have met.
The chances of us meeting when we are from opposite ends of the earth, and opposite sides of life (party-boy meets goody-two-shoes-girl) are mighty slim.

But somehow we managed to hook up and create some pretty special little people. Without this combination of "me and him" where would Dash be? Miss Fab? Scrag?

Eek. Sometimes when you stop to think about all those near-misses, its rather frightening.
What if? What if? What if?

But its OK. The planets lined up, the Irishman missed his boat and here we are.

Inspired by looking at my littlest one and asking, What if we never had him? He is such a treasure and we nearly didn't go there... that one question led to others and before long I find its an absolute miracle I even exist.

{Writing Prompt #2 For Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writers Workshop}

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Carey Morris said...

Great post, I love that you know so much about your history, and what fun history it is too!

Cat said...

GREAT post xxx
I LOVE family history :)
I sometimes wonder on the 'what if's' myself .. .. ..

PaisleyJade said...

Crazy isn't it! I often think the same things (my family history is very interesting indeed). My family arrived on the Jane Gifford!

kezharry said...

My husband and i just played that 'what if' game last night, what if i accepted going to the same school as him? what if we met earlier when we were immature and he wasn't "on the prowl". Thank God he has the plans and our destinys in the palm of his hand!

jacksta said...

great post and yay for knowing your heritage

Sophie said...

isn't it amazing how everything, all those near misses and decisions bring us to one point in history? Amazing!!

Dee said...

A. Smokin' HOT couple!!! Ouch!!!

B. Teehee, I love all the 'scandals'. Every kiwi or Aussie has to have at least five in their family line. Our highlights: drunken scottish whalers, buying up buildings in town whilst bankrupt but in denial, and (my personal favourite) upper class girl running away with the stable boy. :)


Elizabeth said...

Haha - we are also 'The Party Boy' and 'Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes'! I have often thought about that also... we were friends, and we flatted before we got together - and I often wonder if we'd have got married if we hadn't flatted (despite my misgivings at the time), as there was not even a sniff of romance before then ;-)!

Unknown said...

Isn't it crazy how things come together? Who knows what might have been?

Jen said...

very interesting post my friend
pleased it all happened and that you decided to blog otherwise I wouldnt be writing this thinking how blessed I am to have a bloggie friend like you :)

Nikki said...

I love thinking about where I came from and all the 'what ifs'. I have olive skin and dark features because of some Spanish pirates who invaded an English pirate ship and did the dirty on all the women. And that was so long ago that it's almost become recessive in my family!!

Shelly said...

Hmmm, this makes me want to do a bit of research on my family now. I love all those old photos! Gorgeous, and great that we can preserve them in digital format. This has just motivated me to ring up Grandma to ruffle through some photos. - ps this is my first comment on your blog...love it :-)

David Rupert said...

What a delightful journey, reading all your twists and turns and then you realize that there really was a crazy plan that lead you to today, to your destiny.

Brigitte said...

I was just discussing this exact topic with my mother-in-law a few days ago! It can quite simply blow your mind if you think on the near-misses (a "Sliding Doors" moment) for too long! It's awesome to think that God has all the timings worked out to perfection!! (Phew!)
Loving your thoughts and SCANDALOUS family history ;D xx

Brooke Nicole said...

I just love this!! Inspires me to do one of my own..
If I ever do, I'll be sure to credit you with the idea! Yah!!!

That photo of you and your hubs at the end is beautiful!

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed your post! The pictures, the stories ..... truly makes you believe there's quite a divine plan out there, doesn't it?!

Anonymous said...

I love all your pictures! So many things had to come together to get your family where they needed to be.

Anonymous said...

I love all your pictures! So many things had to come together to get your family where they needed to be.

Unknown said...

Positively awesome post. I enjoyed it so much. I am a new follower and look forward to reading more stories. I would like to invite you to my blog for a follow visit where I write book reviews and stories about my crazy life. Donna

Megan Willome said...

This was absolutely delightful! I love that some of the twists and turns involve not-so-nice things. Such is life.

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