We live in an ebb and flow of family and friends. Having plopped ourselves down in a city without nary a cousin or second cousin within a four-hour drive, I guess I could say we’ve done it to ourselves. Our life choice has been to adventure into the great unknowns. It’s been fun. We love our chosen city. But we miss having a convenient familial babysitter nearby!
There are cons to settling down away from family. Cons that make me weepy in the middle of the night if I dwell too long on the separation, the miles, the days and weeks that go by with no more than a tenuous phone line connection.
But there are pros, too, to being tucked away from family.
One of the best pros is the anticipation of the visit. That squiggly feeling that wriggles around in your tummy when you think of how that carload of beloveds will be pulling up to your curb any. minute. now. The breakfast table that bursts at the seams, the coffee pot that gets filled to the brim, the shower damp that migrates down the steps after the fourth dousing of the morning.
I love waking up and going to bed with family and dear friends. There’s something so meaningful and intimate in this ebb and flow, and I would miss it if we lived closer where I could dash in and out for an abbreviated hour’s visit.
And the departure, usually teary and wrenching…and the empty house where a stack of blocks or a forgotten water bottle or a slightly wrinkled guest bed make my tummy gong with hollow loss…that departure is both con and pro.
This morning, as Little Friend navigated the buckles on her shoes prior to preschool, she announced, “Mom, these shoes make me sad. Know why? They remind me of being at Grammie and Pop-Pop’s house.” We’ve just returned from a weekend trip. She’s feeling the empty gonging drum of her tummy. I ache for her.
And yet, in other ways, I’m ever, ever so grateful that we have this ebb of family: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
We are lucky, many times over.