Wednesday, November 8, 2006

My great, great, great...

"He said, I've been to the year 3000.

Not much has changed but they lived under water.

And your great-great-great-granddaughter,

is doing fine." Year 3000, Jonas Brothers

My daughter has discovered Radio Disney in our digital cable line up and has it playing every chance she can. I find it both endearing and a little frightening that she's already interested in listening to popular music. She's only ten, and that seems so young. But I guess I'm comparing her to me, and that isn't fair because I was an only child (no older siblings to benefit from musically or otherwise) and a total dweeb as a kid. I didn't realize there was anything other than AM talk radio (which my parents listened to) until I hit junior high.

Anyway, I don't really have a problem with my daughter's musical interests. Long ago I established my reputation as The Parent Who Will Listen to Just About Anything and May Also Know the Words and Sing Along. (Miraculously, my oldest son didn't seem to mind this, and his friends thought I was cool.) I figured, if nothing else, it was one way I could be in touch with my teenage son, and I think it served me well.So now I get to go through it again, this time with a girl. (The middle son isn't so much into music yet, though he does enjoy my Gaelic Storm CDs...I'm thinking it might be time to try and get him into some Stones or Doors or Zeppelin or something before my husband gets him sucked into country.)

My daughter...she is a tween girl, one who is all into the world of those Disney-esque shows aimed at her demographic, such as "Hannah Montana" (which I have to say I find absolutely hilarious) and "That's So Raven."She's been asking for every Kid's Bop CD on the market for the past few years now, and I dutifully listen to them in the car with her. And sing along. (Then there was the day I was playing a Sheryl Crow CD and she realized that "Soak Up the Sun" was done by someone other than the Kids Bop singers. Too funny.)

In recent weeks, I've come to notice that a version of the song quoted above, "Year 3000" by the Jonas Brothers plays on Radio Disney about once every 18 minutes, or so it seems. It's a catchy little tune, if not the most brain-bending lyrics on earth. But I don't know what it is...whether I should blame it on hormones or what...but every time I hear this song, I get teary. Weird, huh? It's the chorus, wherein the neighbor is telling him (the singer/narrator) that he's been to the year 3000 and, among other things, his (the singer's) great-great-great-granddaughter is doing fine.

Now, realistically speaking...if we're talking about progeny that will be living approximately 1,000 years from now, we'll have to add about thirty more "greats" to that relational title, as the singer's literal great-great-great grand daughter will likely be living sometime around the year 2,136, figuring a new generation approximately every 30 years. But this is a teeny-bopper, boy-band song, so we'll just pass by literal, mathematical accuracy and jump straight on into the emotional and relational implications this song offers us.

Say wha...? It's a BOY BAND...!!

Yes, I know, but hear me out on this....

My first thought upon hearing that line of the song was, "How cool is it that some GUY, who managed to build a time machine in his backyard and went 1,000 years into the future would TAKE THE TIME to look up his neighbor's future relative and then report back on how she's doing?" Pretty cool. I mean, I'd expect a guy to report back on cars and sports and such, but relaying messages? In my experience, not usually their strong suit, regardless of the millenium.

But beyond that, it made me think about my life. Thinking forward...some day, God willing, if Armageddon hasn't yet claimed us all, I will have a great-great-great grand daughter. Or son. That is wild. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around what life will be like in another twenty years, let alone when my kids' kids have great-grandchildren. You know?

But this song makes me wonder if they'll even know about me...will anything of me survive that long? I think of all of the scrapping I do and the pictures I take and the journals I've kept through my life, and how so much of it is for that very there is a record of my life, the here and now, for the there and then. Who knows if today's archivally-safe products will really hold out that long, but I want there to be something for those kids that far in the future to read and see and know of me if they're so inclined.

And I have to think they will be curious. Why? Because I'm curious. You see, I own a sword. A Civil War sword that belonged to my great-great-great grandfather. And I have his discharge certificate from the Civil War, dated June 21, 1865. And that's all I have. But I yearn to know so much, much more about him...more than the basic family history I've been able to trace down to more recent generations. I wish I knew him, his life, his experiences. What was his life like in the 19th century? What did he enjoy and what did he do after the war? Or before? What was his favorite thing to do in his spare time, and his favorite meal? Did he have a sense of humor and did he show his wife how much he loved her? Did he go for walks with her and how did he feel when he looked into her eyes?

And while I'm sure he had other things on his mind at the time, I wonder, if at any moment during his days in the 15th Regimen of the Pennsylvania Calvary, if he ever gave any thought at all to his great-great-great-granddaughter who might be wondering about him more than 140 years later?

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