We Do Our Best

“For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.”–President Obama.

I was watching the inauguration when I heard those words uttered by President Obama back in 2009. My father was gone then just four months, but those words really struck me as something that pertained to his parents even though the people being spoken during that January speech were immigrating to America, not families going to another country from the United States like my grandparents did in 1931.

Still, in both cases, the objectives of the relocations were to improve the lives of a family. For my grandparents, the decision to move from New Jersey to Russia ultimately proved to be a tremendous mistake with tragic consequences for some members of my father’s family.

My father realized why they moved, perhaps not as a boy, but later as a father, when he could understand that his parents truly believed they had made the only decision that made sense to them at the time.

As a mother, I know how difficult the job of being a parent is—with no perfect playbook and no foolproof manual.  We have all made choices that we later wish we could change.

Life is full of decisions, choices, mistakes, and regrets which are all lessons to be learned so that, hopefully, we avoid similar errors in the future. It’s just that, as a parent, when you know your children are looking at you to fix their broken hearts, mend their mistakes, and fix all that is wrong in their lives, it is a very heavy responsibility to carry. But we do our best, and hope that we take our children down more good roads than bad.

Dads family



About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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