Family Cross Stitch Project: The Ria’s (My Parents)


I realize this genealogical family cross stitch project is going to become pretty embarrassing, pretty quickly as I can barely get the right names and birth dates for my grandparents (yikes!).

Even so, I thought I would start with my family first. I was born the second child to Winton and Jaime Ria nee Miya in Murray, UT. My older sis was not even two years old when I was born and my parents quite often treated us like we were twins (dressing us in similar clothes and such). The little sis came quite a few years later. My little bro came a few years after that.

I read an article awhile back about this photography project, Before They Pass Away. My dad passed away before I hit junior high, but I’ll never forget how incredibly proud he was to be Maori. He spoke the language and was always trying to teach my older sis and I to know where we came from. If we weren’t going to Saturday morning Maori practice, we were practicing for the Obon Festival or whatever luau or cultural event.

My dad had a huge, crooked nose that apparently broke when he was swimming in the ocean in New Zealand. He had kind eyes, large hands and sausage-like fingers that were constantly fidgeting. He played the guitar and would sing to himself so often it was as if he didn’t realize he was doing it. When you heard him singing even if it was a song you had heard a million times before, it would light you up from the inside.

My mom is 5 foot nothing and getting shorter. My auntie from New Zealand referred to her as an “oriental princess” the first time my mom visited my dad’s family. It could be her amazing Japanese genes or her religious application of Vaseline, but my mom has looked pretty much the same for the past 10+ years.

My older sis and I were obsessed with smelling my mom’s hands and hair when we were little. She always smells so wonderful and she is the most put together, capable person you will ever meet. My mom used to call me “darling” when I was little and sometimes as an adult when she refers to me with that moniker I feel like a beaming 5 year old. Small and special.

I don’t know if these little bits of memories will help with my project, but it’s nice to remember them.


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