Do you remember the song from the movie White Christmas? The way Rosemary Clooney's voice slides into the notes? Love it!
I have lived far, far away from my sisters and any and all family for nine years now. Count them, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 years. That's huge!!! (at least to me).
Before we moved to the midwest, we lived two blocks from my mom (my children could literally walk to grandma's and pick apples off her tree!) and 10 minutes by car from my in-laws. One sister lived twenty minutes in one direction, another 30 minutes in the other. Most of Hubders family was within 20-ish minutes too. Family was everywhere. Anytime you needed somone to watch your kids, help out with --whatever--you know, the kinds of things that you need help with and can't ask anyone but family, they were there, always. Multiples of them and you could always count on a helping hand, more food than you should eat, a laugh or two and a sympathetic ear. I've missed that!
I love the Midwest. Love the green, love the friendly atmosphere, love the common sense outlook, love the spring and falls (the summers and winters--not so much, but that's another post), love the fact that my children have dear friends from different religions and races, and most of all, love the people! My only real beef with where I live is that my family is NOT here.
Most of the time, I don't really think about it and it's bearable. But occasionally, especially holidays and General Conference, when you know exactly where they all are and what they're all doing, and you're not there, it hits me with an ache that almost overwhelms me.
We've made multiple attempts to get Hubder's employer to move us back to Utah, but don't have any hope of it happening anytime in the near future. So, I try not to think about how extended family-less I am and enjoy the things I love here. Because they're truly legion. Really, I don't want any of my Midwest friends to get the idea that we don't just love living here. Because we do.
I'm sure I've mentioned that one of my six sisters moved here this summer (yup! I'm one of seven sisters--and we all have exactly one brother--a really great brother!). She's only one sibling from a large family, but can I just say how NICE it is to have some family around again!!! Our kids think it's the coolest thing on the planet just to hang out at each others houses. Labor day, we got together with family!!! It was such a novelty!!! My sis and I chat, and learn sign language together and share recipes, and books, and crafty and bloggy things.
Now, I have some really wonderful friends here, friends that would literally do anything for my family. But, I'm so hesitant to ask. Maybe I shouldn't be, but it's just the way I am. And so, for the past nine years, anytime I've needed someone to watch preschoolers in the middle of the day, when we have to go out of town for a couple of days, or we need some help with a panic/semi-emergency, I've asked. But I've always felt uncomfortable and a little bit guilty. Yes, I've returned the favor and all, but still, I'm very reticent to request friend's time and energy to help me in my little life.
Enter, my sis who just moved here. It's pure bliss!!! Somehow, it's completely different when it's actual family! I don't hesitate, even when it's last minute and maybe not even nice to ask. I know that if there's any way she can do it, she will. If it won't work for her, she'll say so. And I know that she'll ask me back whenever the need arises and I'll tell her yes, or no depending on my own life and it'll all be good!
I didn't even realize how much I missed that easy give and take in a big extended family, until I got a smidge of it back in the form of my sis.
So, this post is dedicated to Laree, my MUCH younger, (I'm almost old enough to be her Mom!), fellow bloggin, joy to talk to, fabulous Mommy, brought something really sweet and important to me back into my life, sister.