A couple of days ago, I had this thought go through my mind. It was my nephew’s birthday and I was thinking how much I missed him and wished I could just sit and visit with him for a few hours.
I thought about how I should write about family. Then I didn’t write anything.
Today my cousin shared a photo on Facebook of my mother’s family. It was a memory that was shared and I looked over all the original comments and read the new ones. There was a theme across the comments, that all wished we had known them better.
This is what I thought to write about earlier this week. How, as families, we don’t take the time to learn, listen and get to know one another.
When I start to think about such things there is a hurt in my heart. It is like being homesick for something unknown. A hurting to reach out and hug or touch or laugh with someone who is no longer near or close.
I married young. I lived overseas. Phone calls were expensive and you just didn’t call. Letters helped, but those only went so far. You can write so many pages and then your hand dies, the writing goes weird and you give up. I can remember writing letters to my aunts and uncles, not often , but through different seasons. I corresponded with one of my mother’s brothers for several years until he passed. I got a glimpse into his personality and a bit of what he thought about. I always looked forward to those letters. And, then, they were gone.
Another nephew’s birthday is tomorrow. He is the oldest of the next generation. I was living overseas when he was born. I didn’t get the birth announcement until he was almost a month old. I bonded with him immediately. My heart sang whenever I would receive a new photo of him. I didn’t get to see him until he was almost four.
I didn’t get to see my nieces or nephews often. Living on the west coast prevented us from just dropping in for a visit. I look back with regret that I didn’t get to see them. I didn’t get to see school plays or see how they were growing. But, likewise, they did not get to know me or their cousins, my daughters.
It is true, that military families make their own ‘families’ and this is a huge comfort and help. I could not manage without my family that are not related through blood. They have shared in life events that my blood family could not be present for. But, that is another post.
This post is for my family, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, my nephews and my nieces. I want them to know that with all my heart, I love you. You have each etched deep within my heart, your own place. These are the places I hold dear. They are filled with conversations we have had. They are filled with photos of your life that you have posted or shared, or on that rare occasion, I have seen. We may not know everything about each other, but that does not matter. For, you are my family. You are my blood relations. You will always be in my heart, my thoughts and prayers. I am proud of you. Your accomplishments make me beam. Your sorrows prick my heart and I hurt for you. Your laughter makes me laugh.
I had a brief conversation with my oldest nephew a couple of years ago. He was rushing to see his nephew. He said he hated not being closer to him, that he loved him so much and just wanted to be near him. He was being honest with me and I was able to look him in the eye and tell him I totally understood, for that is how I felt about him. At that moment we understood each other in a way we had never before experienced. I think of that moment often.
These thoughts have been on my mind often the past few weeks. I needed to let my family know how precious they are to me. It’s good to let those you love know they are loved. Too often we are preoccupied with our own lives and we forget that family may need to hear from us. So, to my nieces and nephew who may read this, Yes, I am that old weird aunt that still hugs on you and cries when she sees you, but, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS love you and be here for you. Thank you for making my life so much fuller because of you.
Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)