Family.

With the holidays fast approaching, my thoughts have been on family a lot lately.

I look at my small, perfect family as we gather around the dinner table or snuggle on the couch, and I am content. We are a self-sustaining unit, made more so by the sheer distance that separates us from our extended families.

It’s a good thing. But also a, well, sad thing.

Tori is always asking about her grandmas and grandpas, her aunts and uncles, and her cousins. She knows which gifts came from her Grandma Page, asks when Grandma Oozy (Susie) will come visit again and wonders where her cousins are.

We explain that they’re all at their homes, in Michigan, and can’t visit often, but since she doesn’t have any notion of geography, the words mean nothing to her.

She just knows they aren’t there. That it’s just us three, except on really special occasions. That’s just the way it is.

It’s quiet. It’s cozy. And just a little bit lonely.

In contrast, we went to a birthday party yesterday. Not a big to do. Just a few friends, and assorted family. Both sets of grandparents, a great grandparent or two…normal stuff. What struck me was how easy it all was. Not planning the party, that always takes work. But how simple it was for the family to gather. They could pop in for a couple hours, then head home in the evening.

There’s no need to shuffle sleeping arrangements, book hotels or pet sitters. It just happens.

Tori will probably never know what that’s like.

That’s okay. When she does get to see our family, it’s always very special. And she gets more than a couple of fleeting hours with them. She gets days and days of quality time. There’s a lot to be said for that.

Plus, we miss out on a lot of the day to day drama that happens when you live in close proximity to your relatives. There’s no pressure to attend every little event or barbeque. No worry about who’s arguing with whom.

When we arrive, it’s automatically an Event, full of happy chaos.

It’s fun.

But at times like this, times when we’re looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving simply¬† because we can’t afford to make two trips so close together (in terms of gas money, vacation time, and you know, mental health), I get a little sad.

I love my family just the way it is. But part of me will always miss being surrounded by my Family.

That’s just the way it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments on Family.

  1. Meagan
    November 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm (4 years ago)

    We are lucky. My parents made a 3 hour drive from Urbana, Chris’s made an hour and a half drive from the north side of Indy, and his grandparents came up from Evansville – all for a 5 year old’s birthday party.

    It’s nice to have family close enough that they can come, but it’s also far enough that we don’t see them all the time. We try for once a month, sometimes sending the boys off for a weekend with one set of grandparents or the other. It’s a lot of driving, but the boys know all the grandparents.

    We’re glad you could come yesterday. (And we have the really weird family where both sets of parents get along. They sometimes do things together without us. So not every family has gatherings like that.)

    Reply
    • Amber
      November 22, 2011 at 9:28 am (4 years ago)

      Yeah, our sets of ‘rents get along too. It’s nice. Sorry to hold you up as an example…I was feeling schmaltzy yesterday.

      Reply
      • Meagan
        November 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm (4 years ago)

        That’s ok.

        Growing up, my family all lived within about 20 minutes of my grandparents’ house. Chris’s family has always been spread out (not unexpected in a military family). So, being used to a close-knit family, it was important to me. And not having seen his cousins or grandparents much growing up, family was important to Chris. We found a place somewhere in the middle.

        Really, we all do what we can.

        Reply
  2. Rebecca
    November 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm (4 years ago)

    I have no idea where you live but if you lived close, I’d demand you to come with my family. We could be adopted extended family members.

    Reply
    • Amber
      November 22, 2011 at 9:28 am (4 years ago)

      Awww, I appreciate the sentiment. It’ll be a good weekend. We spend so much time rushing around, it’ll be good to sit still. :)

      Reply
  3. Venus
    November 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm (4 years ago)

    I can relate, Amber. Half of our family (M’s half) is local and so G gets to see Grandma Anna all the time. But my half of the family is a diff story. Until recently they lived 3 flights away in CA. Now they live closer, but still far enough away that trying to see all family on a single day for holidays is just not going to be done. (See my post at http://imnotwritinganovel.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/at-least-theres-always-venus/ if you’re curious).

    But enough about me, my point is, I can relate and I wish you and your family the best over the holiday, and I hope you enjoy yourselves enough to chase away that loneliness!

    Reply

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