- Photos of my mother's side of the family--circa 1977, in somewhat-sepia tones; my grandmother and grandfather both passed away when I was eight but I'm paying tribute to them with a bottle of scotch and a rosary
- Photo of my dad's dad, my grandpa--he used to succor me on lemon drops and winks during long, Lutheran church services, so I put a shiny lemon that makes me smile on the altar
- Photo of my brother-in-law--he's only six or so in the photo and his blond hair is combed back in crisp rows, but it hurts to look at his velvety brown eyes; I put a box of paints and a red, plastic paintbrush that matches his shirt out for him; I hope he's painting his way through the afterlife
- Half a model ship--my husband's grandfather on his mother's side like to build these; I didn't know him but I like the idea of someone who is that patient
I wish I had photos of my husband's paternal grandfather, my Aunt CarolAnn and my two beloved cats, Silver Streak and Stellaluna. Maybe their ghosts will bring something to mind in the night...
This is all to say, I wonder which of these family members will show up in my someday-child's face, or habits, or hobbies, or mannerisms? "Blood runs thicker than water," they say, and these people are some of the reasons I'm hoping not to adopt. I'd love a child with my grandfathers' cheery good natures, my grandmother's verve, my brother-in-law's creativity, my aunt's audacity, my husband's grandfather's hardworking genes, and my cats' loyalty! If only we should get so lucky.