I am back. What a difference a week away from my home and children can make in my routines! I think I should take a week off every so often to recharge and reset. I needed a jump start, and that's what I got.
The purpose of my trip was not a vacation, but seeing as I didn't have to cook, clean, grocery shop, pay bills, do laundry or drive it felt a little like one.
For a week we celebrated my grandfathers life with tons of family. My grandparents have 5 children. They have 23 grandchildren and 21 of them were present with 9 spouses. Of their 37 great-grandchildren, 22 were there. I wasn't the only one who had to leave children at home. It was a great week talking about our favorite memories and getting reacquainted with each other. Some of my cousins I haven't seen in fifteen years.
But this is where it gets hard. Every time I go back "home" I am reminded of how far away I am. I have to reintroduce myself to my young nieces and nephews. I met a brother-in-law for the first time and my sisters step-children. I see all the things I miss because I live so far away. The shopping trips and lunch out together. The cousins playing and sleeping over at each others houses. The birthdays and holidays celebrated. Those are the things I miss the most. Their lives are entwined in a way we will most likely never know. I felt like an outsider.
I long to be near my family. I can't help but think that life would be so much easier if they were and am convinced that it should be that way. At the funeral my uncle related that people ask him how he ended up with such good kids and he readily attributed it to having my grandparents live with them for 14 years while their children were growing up. He is right.
My memories of my grandparents are really limited to just a couple years. We lived in the same town, otherwise I probably wouldn't have any. All of my cousins on the other hand enjoyed either living with them at some point, or living near them for the better part of their growing up years. As we shared memories it was obvious that those who had been near them and spent time with them (not just visiting) really knew my grandpa. It made me sad.
I feel so bad for my children who will never know their own grandparents like their cousins will. Every one lives within 35 minutes of each other. Some live just minutes away. They will have a relationship with their grandparents, that we cannot hope to achieve visiting twice a year and my heart aches for them.