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."