When I moved from Arizona to Boston for graduate school, never did I ever think I would meet my husband and start raising our family out here. In many respects, I am too sunny, too cheery, too West Coast; and frankly, I didn’t know if I was tough enough to be a New Englander. But, more importantly, I didn’t imagine my life in New England because my family isn’t here. We’re a tight knit family, so I just sort of assumed we’d all live within the same state as we got older. The cousins would grow up together, we’d share holidays, birthdays, and everything in between.
And yet, here I am, almost eight years later, with a party of five, and one heart split in two. Half of my heart belongs to the vast warmth and beauty of the southwest, and the other half fully embraces the magic of seasonality and change. Half of my heart aches for cousin playdates and adventures with grandma, and the other half is lifted up by meaningful friendships and a sense of independence and strength that only “figuring it out as you go” can foster. So, I sit, straddling the line, sometimes feeling settled, and yet sometimes feeling pulled. I am simultaneously at home, and also, homesick.
Even though I know we all stay connected and make an effort to visit one another, being apart from some of the people I love the most is a difficult pill to swallow. Thankfully, modern technologies like FaceTime and Skype buffers some of my sadness, and yet, I long for the day that I don’t have to text my brothers funny memes, and rather exchange our silly sibling banter in person. I see the way my boys light up when they see their cousins, the way my three year old asks his grandma, “Are you staying for all the days?”, and the satisfying comfort of knowing you are with people that love you unconditionally.
I’m tired of missing out on life’s monumental events – weddings, birthdays, holidays – but, I’m also tired of missing the everyday events – the impromptu pizza party on a Friday night, the Saturday morning soccer games, or the trip to the park after school. Recently, my oldest brother (who’s a teacher) lost a student to cancer. He was devastated, and although I could call to comfort him, all I wanted to do was drop by his house and help him drink his favorite bottle of wine. Just be together. Share in his grief, together.
Because isn’t that the most beautiful thing about family? Not only do you share the joy, the successes, the good times, but you have people who see you through your darkest times, who sit with you, who understand the inner workings of you – even when you don’t. At least, that’s what my family means to me, and what my husband and I hope to create for our children. A safe space. A space where you can be exactly who you are, without show or pretense, without hesitation or shame.
I often wonder how our choices will effect our boys, as “place” shapes and defines us. Will they be proud Bostonians? West Coast converts? Or someone else entirely? Because even though we are a young family who isn’t quite “settled” yet, we are also just human – unsure of what the future holds and where life will lead. Sometimes it’s hard living in the great unknown, but as my dad always reminded me with a glint in his eye, “that’s how you know you’re living.” Keep living, mama.
You Got This,