Tonight I’m feeling a bit homesick. Maybe it was the Facebook video of my mom and dad singing happy birthday to my first born, or my cousin singing a karaoke version of Tim McGraw’s “Indian Outlaw.” Maybe it’s the upcoming baby shower or the imminent arrival of our first grand baby. Maybe spending extended time together this summer makes it harder to be apart. But tonight, I miss my family.
It’s not like we’ve really ever lived close to each other. My cousins were part of an Air Force family, and we were a Navy family, with home base in Oregon when we were kids. We spent time together in the summer, at our Grandparent’s home or camping in the wilderness of eastern Oregon with our extended family. It was never a near relationship, but we valued it all the more for the adventure of our time together. We have remained close in spite of time and distance.
Technology is a double edged sword. I can keep up with family across the country. I see birthday parties,graduations, and weekend trips across my screen. My cousin in Omaha and those in La Grand and Medford fill my Facebook feed. I couldn’t go to the family reunion at grouse camp this September, but I loved seeing the pictures and knowing the family was gathering. Sometimes, it just highlights the distance. On days like today, I just miss being there. I miss the ordinary days and the impromptu fun. I miss being part of the every day with the people I love.
I love that they gather and continue to make connections without me. I love that I can watch my cousin’s kids grow and explore via Facebook, but it isn’t the same as being there. As I get older, these relationships seem more precious. Our shared childhood, the common stories, and the familiarity matters to me. A few years ago, I saw a picture of my cousins gathered around the table playing pinocle and could have sworn they were my uncles. My breath caught to realize the uncles were all gone, but now these men with silver hair were taking their places.
Tomorrow is my niece’s birthday, I won’t be there to celebrate with her. She’s growing up so quickly. I’ve missed so much of her life, but I couldn’t love her more. I wish I could be there on an ordinary Tuesday, to stop in and check on her, maybe take her out for ice cream. It’s hard to keep up from the other side of the country, but I try. We all do. We just don’t take these things for granted. It takes intention and perseverance to keep showing up in each other’s lives when the distance gets in the way. I often think we are closer than many families I know who live right down the street from each other. For this, I am very grateful.
My family is loud and imperfect, just the way I like it. Tonight, I just wish they were a bit closer…
I hope you are enjoying this exploration of simple things that make life special. This is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to follow along.