"Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name" - The Avett Brothers
The past week my husband and I were on vacation. Normally we go to Disney World or travel to concerts. But this time it was different. From near and far, most of my immediate family gathered at my brother’s beautiful home in Rochester. There were 15 of us, not counting relatives and family friends who also traveled from out of town.
Throughout the week we:
- Slept under the same roof
- Ate meals together
- Traveled to Niagara Falls and got soaked on the Maid of the Mist
- Played games like Yahtzee
- Saw Despicable Me 2 at a theater with leather recliners
- Watched TV and movies on the couch
- Prepared for the big party on Saturday
- Celebrated my father's and brother Greg's birthdays with yummy cake and slide shows
- Went to the Strong Children's Museum of Play
- Played wiffleball (some of us watched wiffleball)
- Cleaned up our mess after the party
- Used imitation Nerf guns to shoot down a tower of plastic cups
- Listened to my brother Jason play the Star Spangled Banner on electric guitar (twice!)
- Had a two-hour long sing along which included everything from the Beatles to Weezer
- Conversed about the mundane, the exciting, the funny, and the serious
We laughed and we cried.
We took naps... Lots of naps! What is a vacation without a nap?
This is all to say that there is nothing as relaxing and rejuvenating as spending quality time with family and close friends... Not rushing to get to the next ride at Disney. Not constantly scheduling things to do. But honest to goodness - sleep in every morning, hang out on the couch, have breakfast on the deck under the warm sun, stay up late and talk- vacation!
It really is a shame that my family is scattered literally to three of the four corners of the United States, and usually only gets together once every year or two. I miss them so very much, especially my nieces and nephews. Right now my closest sibling is 80 minutes away and that is too far. I get lonely sometimes, feeling like I’m missing a limb. So when we do get together I begin to feel whole again. Unfortunately, when we inevitably separate that feeling of loneliness returns but it usually doesn't hit me for a few months.
I’m thankful for things like Facebook that keep me somewhat connected with my family through the long patches when we can’t be together. It's like I'm peering into their life through a window...
I can almost hear the open mic poetry readings my brother, Christopher, puts together.
I can imagine sitting alongside my brother, Dan, driving his truck, and taking beautiful photos of the US countryside.
I can hear my brother, Jason, playing in his rock 'n' roll cover band.
I smile thinking of my brother, Greg, and his lovely wife, Debra, trying on different hats at every store they go into, taking photos of themselves just for the pure joy of it all.
I can see my sister’s smile and hear her contagious laugh, as she adores the milestones of her beautiful young children.
I can hear my parents singing karaoke at the clubhouse in the 55-plus community they live in.
It’s like I’m there… but then I remember... I’m not…
Nothing can truly replace being connected in person with someone you love - the warmth of a hug, the reaction of a smile, and the tears of a tender conversation - not even photos on Facebook.
Even if you can't live in the same city, take advantage of every single moment you have with your loved ones. Do not take their presence in your life for granted. Love one another with every fiber of your being and allow yourself to enjoy resting with one another when you are able. I believe that it is in those quiet moments when we are at our purest, most vulnerable, and when our relationships can truly thrive.
Loving others. That’s all that matters in the end.
Does your family live close or far away? How often do you see them? What do you do to stay connected?