Today, Easter Sunday, was the first major holiday in twenty years that we weren’t all together as a family. Our oldest is away, a sophomore in college. There have been lots of ways, large and small, over the past two years that our family life has changed. But not enjoying a big holiday together just kind of snuck up on my wife and me today.
We joined my brother and my nephew at my parents’ house for a nice Easter brunch today. It was great to see my folks and my brother and his son. I love being back in the house I grew up in, too.
Being there for part of the past two days reminded me of the year that I moved away from my home, and my parents, and my brother. It was 1989, and I was twenty-five years old. My best friend, Michael, and I moved from Rochester, NY to Seattle, WA – a distance of over 2,600 miles.
I missed being with my family for every major holiday for about two or three years after I moved away. Even though I wasn’t physically with my mom and dad and brother on those big days, I never thought for a moment that they weren’t with me emotionally. Once a family, always a family, whether you are together in the same place or not. It took moving away from home for me to realize that.
I wasn’t exactly alone for the holidays out in Seattle though. Michael had extended family in Washington State. His aunt and uncle and his cousins were nearby and they took great care to make sure we were always with their family during the holidays. This made being away from my own family at holiday time much more bearable.
Thinking back on the first times I was away from my own family during the holidays helped me realize that today wasn’t the beginning of the end of our family of five. We called Dan today, and we Skyped with him too. But even if we hadn’t have done that, I know that we’re family, always a family…whether we’re together in the same place or not. I just hope Dan realized that today, too.