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Stories that breathe – ghosts of family legacies, the mishaps, failures and the champions of our past are the myriad steps to a life well-lived for those big eyed-pink cheeked souls sitting around our dinner table.

Chloe loves to run; the destination not necessesarily tangible. Mud puddles, my mom’s place in the country, sidewalks and fiercely windy days have been pounded by 5 year old feet. When I see her face, I know she is feeling the joy of doing something that has been designed into her precious soul.

On a family outing to the park, we split up to race each other home. Noah and John went one way; stroller and straight paths, Chloe and I went another direction on foot and ready to win. Our path was a little more challenging, and Chloe slowed to a walk half-way into our race.

“Your Papa won a trophy in high school. He was the fastest runner in the state of 100_1403Arizona.”

Before I finished the sentence, she grew wings. We won. She just needed to know that she had the blood of a champion.

My great uncle wrote a family history with the good and the bad; everything tied up in an honest bow. There were stories of the warriors, the civil war cousins – one who camped on the other’s lawn, and then there were the details that sent prickles up my spine; the artists and writers and those in medicine whose passions trickled down the line more than a hundred years later.

What do we see when we look back?

Failures, victories, heroes and villains. One step forward, two steps back until a leap of faith makes a hero.

I tell Chloe about her Papa, and how he had his own struggles, but had feet like wings. He had little education but worked hard and found his final job working with N.A.S.A. He tried and failed, and tried again and again until his work literally reached the stars.

Family histories are a lifeline. We must tell our stories to our children, so when they need that extra push, all they have to do is reach back and grab the baton. We propel them forward by running our race hard enough to reach them, even when we have passed into the land of spirits.

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