Thursday, July 26, 2007

Family Circles

I'll be visiting my family this weekend to observe an ancient circle. I will welcome new life and honor lives long and well-lived.

My sister is expecting a baby and my grandpartents' health is on the decline. I will gather with other women to encourage my sister and welcome this new life, as women (and men) have done for centuries. I will spend time with my grandparents and tell them how much their presence has enriched my life. In my heart I will whisper that it's OK for them to let go when they are ready. This trip is full of mixed emotions for me, in many more ways than I can write.

I've been working on a project to collect family stories. I'll present a draft to my grandparents this weekend. My Mom has 6 brothers and sisters and they each have interesting personalities and wonderful stories to share! Like the time my uncle caught my great-great-grandmother smoking in the outhouse. Another uncle was a co-conspirator in a big barn fire, at the ripe age of 5. Or the time several uncles dressed like hillbillies to scare away a boy that my Mom liked. (I think it worked - he never came back.) A favorite story of mine is when several of my older girls cousins, whom I idolized, went skinny dipping in the hotel pool at a family wedding. I could go on and on!

I've been compelled to write down these stories as a tribute to my wonderful and colorful family. I hope it will be a way for my grandparents to reminisce and smile, and also as a way for younger family members to learn of their history.

"If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion." ~Ashleigh Brilliant

I want to hear the ghost stories of my family.

As part of this family story collection, I've also been gathering photos. Here's one of my sister and me. I'm the one standing. I was about 7. The pony's name was Punkin. This photo was taken in front of my grandparents' home, where I will visit tomorrow.

I think this quote from Erma Bombeck sums up my experience of family quite well:

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."
~Erma Bombeck


Blogging My Life Away said...

Steph- you write so beautifully! Have a good visit..I know it will be mixed trip with aged grandparents that you love and exciting new life that you will see!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! We are in for an emotional weekend, aren't we!? I am looking forward to seeing the two of you, though! This was a really nice post today! I really don't know what else to made me cry, but I am pregnant so it doesn't take much! :)
Love ya,

megan p said...

It's been a joy being welcomed into your wonderful family! I look forward to reading the stories I haven't heard yet. Have a great weekend. Sorry I won't be able to be there for the celebration.

Allison said...

I'm sure the weekend will be a thoughtful and emotional one for you. Take care and enjoy your family.

anna pieka valentine said...

What a wonderful thing~ to collect old stories and pictures and preserve them so that they can live on and be shared! I love the photo here, too. :)

Michelle said...

Steph, this post brought me to tears. We are so blessed with such a wonderful family and so many brilliant memories. I can listen to those same stories over and over again! I hope Keri's shower was a great celebration! I'm sorry I couldn't make it.

love and peace,

p.s. I loved the pic! I have such fond memories of staying nights with you and riding horses :-)

Cindy said...

Wow, I'm crying over this post too - it's so beautifully written AND reveals your enormous, loving, heart Steph.

I'm so happy that you have such a wonderful family to document and they're lucky to have such a wonderful woman to strengthen it by recording its antics! There's a reason they call it 'FOLKlore' and it's an important part of keeping the family circle strong.