Have you ever wanted to know who your parents really were growing up? What stories do they have? What experiences did they enjoy? What memories stuck with them?
I set out to do just this.
Earlier this year I saw this tweet from Paul Graham:
Something I wish I’d done while my mother was still alive: I wish I’d written an essay, just for myself, about what she was like as a person. I knew her pretty well, but I’d know her better if I’d had to observe her and ask her questions in order to describe her in writing.
— Paul Graham (@paulg) April 30, 2019
I knew immediately that I needed to do something like this with my parents while I could still talk to them about it, so I built a little workflow with Zapier. I started with my Mom, and then did one for my Dad. Every week they get an email with a question. Whenever they have time to reply, the responses are captured in a spreadsheet we can use for something in the future. But it’s in the weekly responses that we strike up all sorts of interesting conversation.
Like this one. It was to my Dad, and the question was, what is your definition of love? Here was his response:
“If music be the food of love, play on!”
My definition of love is a combination of infatuation, devotion, like-minded thinking, skills complementing each other; sexual, mental and physical compatibility; growing each other and on it goes.
Love grows stronger over time, it is not just the high school attraction between two people that will fade when the initial excitement wears thin but rather love grows as time evolves. It’s a long term investment that takes the good with the not so good and is able to enjoy the highs and weather the storms. Growing with experience, sharing experiences, learning from each other. It is being able to look back with happiness and pride and look forward to remaining adventures.
I had no idea my Dad thought so deeply about love. Besides the deep thoughts, I’ve learned about the places they grew up, what nicknames they had as kids, what their first date was like, what their grandparents were like… incredible depth and breadth that has broadened my understanding of them as people. My brother and I love it.
If you want to see how to set this up for yourself, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and my team will send you two videos showing you all the steps.