I’ve been in Connecticut since Thursday. Unfortunately, my flight is delayed by an hour and a half, which means I won’t make it home in time to have dinner with DW and my kids. Which really is a bummer. I miss them. I also just said good-bye to an aunt and cousin as they head back home to Florida. It has been a bitter-sweet weekend.
My cousin K’s wedding was beautiful. Both families co-mingled on the dance floor. It was hard to tell where one family started and the other began. But isn’t that what you hope for when two people come together? It is a union of families, not just two people. You have to figure out different family traditions, beliefs, drama and dynamics. Decisions are made that effect your entire life, and the lives of your children as you wade through holiday celebrations, vacations, birthdays, babies, anniversaries and even deaths.
The biggest decision I think we make is about our careers and where to live.This weekend was a sweet reminder of what an amazing extended family I really have – no matter how much time passes, it always feels comfortable and real. We reminisce about childhood memories, and update each other on what we’ve missed. We revel in the similarities in our lives even though we are states away, and we even enjoy silent moments alone just being in each others presence. There really are no expectations. But we are reminded that we still should not take each other for granted. These are the people that are supposed to love us unconditionally. Til death do us part.
However, there was a tinge of bitterness knowing how much I have missed over the years. It’s not that I hold anyone accountable for the distance – after all, you go where the work is. Even DW and I have to choose where we live based on job opportunities. Our children don’t get to spend as much time as I would like with cousins and grandparents, aunts and uncles. I am reminded again that I’ve missed birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. I haven’t been present to console in times of grief or host sleepover parties for my cousins’ children. There have been weddings as well as funerals I have not attended. But I think what I most regret missing are not the big things in their lives, but all the little things, like hanging out on a Friday night over pizza and a rental movie. I don’t know them in their everyday lives.
So whenever I feel myself whining a little about vacationing again with family, I need to remember this moment. I need to remember hearing my cousins talking about their summers together growing up or hanging out at Baba’s house over Christmas break because I want my children to be a part of that too. I want my children to not only become adults that will fly across the country to celebrate a wedding, but also fly across the country just to say I love you.