Over the weekend, my older brother D and his girlfriend E drove down from Wisconsin to visit. The last time my brother saw Nellie was in March when she was about 8 weeks old. It’s always nice to have members of my family come to visit me, but the visits go by so quickly that once they leave, it’s almost surreal. Like it’s hard to believe they were actually here. But of course, they were here.
Whenever a family member of mine visits and then leaves, I find myself looking around at the aftermath and feeling wistful & sad. A glimpse of a Chinese food takeout box brings back memories of the night we sat around the table laughing and eating. The leftover chili that my brother made reminds me of the three of us watching the Miss America pageant on TV and making fun of it for two hours. I think about our trips to Starbucks, and E pushing D into a huge pile of snow at Rock City.
It brings to mind the old quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over – smile because it happened”.
I always forget how refreshing it is to be around my blood relatives. I love my in-laws and they are family to me but there’s just something about surrounding yourself with people who have known you since birth. People who share your DNA. People who fit into a place in your heart and soul like only those you’ve grown up with can. I’m an odd person. I have an odd sense of humor and when I’m with my family, it’s like I make a little more sense than usual. I only get to see my blood relatives once a year – if I’m lucky – so I cherish the time we get to spend together.
I find myself looking back and feeling happy that it happened, but sad at the same time because I know it’s going to be months before we get to have fun times and make new memories again. It’s harder since I’ve had a child. I want my father and my brother to be a part of her life as her other family – Josh’s family – are. I want them to be around for her birthdays, for holidays.. And just because. I haven’t mentioned my mother, and that’s because she and I have a pretty strained and complicated relationship. She lives in Chattanooga but as I said before, our relationship isn’t great. Maybe another day when I have a lot of emotional energy & the fortitude to go into it, I will. Let’s just say I don’t crave her company like I do my other family which is frustrating, because she lives so close.
I have my family here in my husband, I do have a blood relative here, of course… And that’s my Nellie. My daughter. She’s more a part of me than any other person on the face of the planet. She possesses a piece of my heart and more than just a little bit of my soul. When I get to feeling sad, or lonely, or longing for my Northern relatives all I have to do is look into those eyes, gaze upon the chin dimple that she inherited from me and realize that she is my blood. She’s my everything. I still miss my other family members terribly, but she helps soothe the sting quite a bit.