It is a sweet feeling to reconnect – to catch up with old friends, and to hear their stories. And, it is priceless to visit family. We live so far away from the rest of our clans. It was our choice to move – we wanted things you couldn’t get where we were. We figured we could always visit “once in a while”. That “once in a while” turned out to be rather “rarely”. The exclusivity and distance sinks in when you realize that the kids were half the size they are now, last time they visited their grandparents.
We laughed when we showed up at a party friends had arranged, at how we all looked like our parents – it had been so long… It was the first time my best beloved had seen all his former roommates together in one room, in 28 years! Gray hairs, sagging skin, and crow’s feet aside – judging from the cheer and the banter, we might as well never have left.
Our trip was a whirlwind – parties in our honor, familiar faces of many, many friends, beloved family members, visits to old favorite restaurants (which were still there). All older and a little more worn – including us. We had that soft, comfy feeling of a flannel shirt that has been washed a hundred times – we were all there, and we only got better with age.
It was hard to leave. A mix of sadness, angst, and guilt. Will everyone still be there next time we return? Isolated from our past, it’s easy to lose track of time. As the plane took off, I fretted over our choices. The urge to be a part is strong, and family weighs heavily. No one should have to carry the weight of generations alone – yet those that remain do. From here, we’re as distant and removed as passengers on a plane – gazing down from a window seat. And, it’s a cold place to be.