Whenever I walk out the door I’m toting a purse in which I carry a wallet, tissues, lipstick and my cell phone. If our little granddaughters are with us, I also carry juice boxes, Goldfish, colors and notebooks.

When I leave home for a speaking engagement, I carry one suitcase filled with books, workbooks, DVD’s and business cards. I carry another one filled with clothes, makeup and shoes.

Although I often lose track of my keys and don’t always remember to put my cell phone in the same pocket of my purse, these physical things are fairly easy to keep track of and manage. The things that can be heavier to carry and harder to manage are my memories, feelings, and perceptions about the people, events and situations in the past.

My three brothers have come from Kansas this week to visit our 87 year-old Aunt Jean. We haven’t all been together since our mother died in 2002. I had to rush to get the beds changed after the wedding last week and pick up the toys from a sleep-over with our little girls last night. It’s been an incredibly hectic few weeks, but the physical work has been easier than the emotional work.

I am going into this weekend knowing that families are complicated. Not all of my brothers and I view the world from a similar perspective, and our perception of past events is very different.

I am also going into this reunion with the knowledge that I have the power to choose which emotions I want to carry and which ones I’d like to set down. I decided a long time ago that I don’t like the weight of resentment, anger or suspicion, so I’m choosing to let go of anything negative and focus on enjoying our time together.

We may not have a lot in common, but we were all raised in the same house. We all look a bit alike, which means we must all carry the genes of our parents. I’m hoping that will be enough to help us forgive, forget and reconnect as a family.