autumn days

Friday, November 21, 2014

Saint Louis, Missouri

When I was four, my family drove to Colorado to spend a couple weeks with my dad's four siblings and their children.  The decades ticked by and I've only seen a handful of them once or twice since then.

I've been training for the last two years to become a shamanic practitioner.  In this training, I focus on appreciating my ancestors and this life they made possible.  Also, in sharing stories with my children of their ancestors, I realized most of my family stories were not positive.  I intentionally choose to share the love, joy, and positive intentions of my ancestors with my children.  On this search, I wrote a cousin to ask for positive family stories.  Each time I received from her a new story or photo, I burst into tears of appreciation at having something new to know of myself and to share with my children.  This cousin connection led to a wedding invitation, much debate on my taking my children with me or not, and Hannah and I attending my cousin's wedding.  Making space for this time with my daughter allowed my husband and son to have their own awesome boys' weekend at the coast.

My daughter was thrilled to fly in an airplane for the first time in her memory.  I adore flying.  We met so many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and family friends.  Our time together was an incredible love fest.  I felt incredibly known and loved in our circle of family.  In the faces of my relatives, I see my deceased grandparents, I feel the love they shared, and their commitment to their children.  I see the humor, the open hearts, and also the walls and defenses.  Hannah and I stepped into Uncle Bill's home and were immediately embraced, welcomed, and felt like we'd always been a part of the family.

After returning home, I still feel the love we shared with family.  This newborn love of my extended family stays with me.  I am so in love with these beautifully detailed, well-intentioned, loving people with whom I get to share ancestors.  What a gift to know such love and to return to those feelings with intention and an open heart.  Giving myself and my daughter this gift of loving family has been beyond my wildest dreams.

Saint Louis Airport right before I realized I'd lost my driver's license

In the Gateway Arch's tiny elevator

On top of the world in the Gateway Arch

Inside the museum under the arch

The arch was our only tourist destination for the weekend.

Time for a wedding

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