I'm back. I just spent 6 days with my extended family. Some that I haven't seen in about 3 years, some I saw just last year. It was a lot of fun hanging out with my mom and aunt for so long, but I'm also exhausted. I'm usually very good at knowing when I've had enough, when to go to bed, when to STOP. This doesn't happen when I'm visiting my family members, mostly because I'm always afraid I'll miss something big.
I went out to St. Louis to go to my cousin's wedding reception. My mother and I left early because we knew my aunt would need help doing last minute preparations. Boy, did she! She works hard (owns her own business) and was doing all things last minute!! Anyway, it was a lovely reception, and a wonderful time had by all.
One thing families do, of course, is to talk to one another. My family seriously talks, too. We sit outside, smoke cigarette after cigarette and just TALK. We usually talk about our own immediate families, but talk of everything else, too. One thing that I learned about myself when talking is that I tend to tell people, "you need to do this, or I would do this" when giving advice rather than just validate what the person is feeling or saying. Sometimes people want to hear actual advice, and some people just want you to listen. I'm good with this with everyone else but not my family for some reason.
My family has problems. At least one cousin out of 5 is an alcoholic or a drug addict. It was...devestating to hear the stories about my cousins who were dealing with all of these issues. Living in Colorado allows me to have a screen to be behind. Not on purpose, I just don't hear all of the stories of my families. I'm very saddened to be worried about so many members, it makes me terrified to pass the addict gene down to my own kids. Anyway, after listening to all of these stories, it made me so grateful that my own problems seem so small. I am grateful that everyone is healthy. I have no answers for those that have been hurt. I can't, because I haven't lived in their shoes. All I can hope is that God is control, and He has a plan for every one of my loved ones.
I'm glad I went, but my eyes have been opened to a lot of things that I wish I was in the dark about.