|The nieces and nephew a couple years ago on family vacation|
So there was this one time that I was home alone with NR all week and I was going to do all these things while Zach was at camp. I was going to do dishes, clean the van, mow the lawn, go to the park, ride bikes, go for a hike, and blog a whole bunch.
Then none of that happened.
NR and I have had a blast just vegging while Daddy has been gone. We've watched too much TV, ate junk food, stayed up late, fingerpainted, played with friends and just all around spent some good quality time together. We're both ready for him to come home tomorrow, though.
For the past 12 days my uncle has been in the hospital and then in hospice. Yesterday evening he passed away after holding on for a long time. Times like these always make me think about family. Hearing the pain in my family's voices on the phone and seeing sad posts on facebook make me ache to be there. I feel separate, less like a member of the family, less vital to the family, like I've forsaken them. I wish I could drop everything and go there. To go home.
I always make a concerted effort to call anywhere that Zach and I (and Nora now) are together "home". Grayson was home when we were in college. It's where we fell in love, where we got married and where we had our first apartment. Evansville was home and will hold a place in our hearts as the place we made incredible friends who we became adults with, where we bought our first house and where we brought our first baby home from the hospital. Wilmington is home now. It's where we've been called. It's where we've found ourselves surrounded by the most amazing and supportive people. People who make it home. People who are our family when our real families are far. It's where we're following God.
But the place I grew up will always be home in a different way. It's the place I come from. It's where the greatest part of my personality and character were formed. It's where my family is. My whole family. About 90% of my immediate and extended family on both sides lives within a couple of hours of the home I grew up in. We have a special family. Big and close. We celebrated everything. Birthdays, holidays, special events, sports wins, graduations, summer, Sunday...everything and nothing was a reason to be together. I've been to Sunday afternoon lunches bigger than our official "family reunion". It's still that way, only I'm not part of it anymore. I make it back to my roots about 2 or 3 times a year.
It's times like these that I long to be back there. I long to see my neices and nephew's band concerts and softball, soccer, football, or basketball games. I want to visit with aunts and uncles and cousins. I want to drop in at my sister's house and spend time with my brother, sister and their families.
I went through a time in college and when we first moved to Evansville when I was a bad family member. I rarely called, I never sent cards. In the past few years I've been trying to be a better family member. I try to be in contact more. Admittedly, I'm still bad at sending cards. I don't want Nora to grow up and not know her family. I remember a few cousins that I always had to get used to any time they came to visit when I was little. I don't want Nora to have to "warm up" to her Grandparents. And this goes for both sides of the family--Zach's parents and family are several hours away, too.
I don't really know where I'm going with all this, I'm just rambling.
I think the moral of the story is: be conciously grateful for your family. It doesn't matter who your family is, they're yours and God gave them to you for a reason. He picked you all to go together--married in, biological, half, step or otherwise. If you love someone, say so. Hug your brother. Let your sister know how much you think about her. Call just because. Let the facebook world wait--tell them your joys and sorrows first. Let them know they're important and valued to you, no matter the physical distance between you.
I'm feeling a little homesick, I guess.
God, bless every member of my family. If they are far from you, draw them to you. Those who are hurting, comfort them tonight. Thank you for choosing them for me. Without them I wouldn't be here with you now and you knew that from the beginning of time. Help me never forget my roots, either physically or spiritually.