The Blur (who studies this sort of thing) says that the feeling of belonging in families comes from folklore of the family, the stories we share. In my family, if you are going away for a while we always say, "I'll miss you most of all, Scarecrow." When eating onion, my childhood "surprise over onion rings containing actual onions" must be recited for the general benefit. Or we might discuss my married-with-five-children brother's teenage make-out session with the fabled Tracy Ramirez, who was seen just once and never heard of again. Did they make out? That wasn't an important part of the story -- the truck, leaving the family reunion, and Eric Murdock were the pivotal points. But you get the idea behind the idea of stories.
In my family, my grandma little sayings and rhymes -- as well as her abnormal supply of Werthers, Tic-Tacs, and Dove chocolates -- are iconic and part of our family folklore. Before I knew it was a song I knew:
I love you/ a bushel and a peck/ a bushel and a peck/ a bushel and a peck/ and a hug around your neck/ a hug around your neck and a barrel and a heap/ a barrel and a heap and I'm talkin' in my sleep about you
She'll break out poems and sayings given any appropriate moment. I remember running through rain, reciting "I'm not sugar or sweet or nobody's honey, so I won't melt."
It was my birthday a couple days ago (Happy Birthday to me). Gram called me three times in the morning and once in the evening to wish me a happy birthday, because she couldn't remember she'd called. But get her going on her poems and she's got it all going on. For instance, a couple months ago, at my great-uncle's funeral, she popped out these two diddies, which I quickly wrote down.
From the time you're born
Till you ride the hearse
Nothing's so bad
That couldn't be worse
In my little garden bed
Raked so nicely over
First the tiny seeds I sow
Then with soft earth cover
Shining down, the great round sun
Smiles upon it often
Little raindrops, pattering down
Help the seeds to soften
Then the little plant awakes!
Down the roots go creeping
Up it lifts its little head
Through the brown earth peeping
Higher, higher still it grows
Through the summer hours
Till some happy day the buds
Open into flowers
Family members, what are you favorites from Gram?
Don't you feel closer, now?