I spent the afternoon photographing the most beautiful bridal shower in Westhampton. Seeing the bride’s family, full of Aunts and Cousins made me smile and gave me lots of wonderful moments to capture. Then, this evening, on a whim, I took our kids out to get ice cream after dinner. As we waited in line, a large family complete with Grandparents stood just in front of us. I watched the Grandpa tease his granddaughter while Grandma and mom chatted and smiled at them. And suddenly, I was hit with a sadness in my heart. Because sometimes, I really miss my Michigan family.
I grew up close with my sisters and we were always surrounded by extended family. We took family vacations with my grandparents and spent most of our holidays with many of our relatives. We were always with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins and I have many fond memories of times spent all together.
I suppose in some ways though, even when I was younger, I was always okay being away too. For seven summers, during High School and College, I spent a good ten weeks an hour and a half away from my home, working at a Bible Camp. I remember missing my family, but also being fine being away from them for long chunks of time. And this was before texting and FaceTime too. I’m pretty sure I’d call once or twice a week to check in and let them know I was still alive and that was about it.
In many ways, those summers prepared me for being away when I got older. I remember asking my Mom once if she was sad that I moved away to New York after I got married. She told me that she always knew in her heart that out of us three girls, I’d be the one to move away. And I was.
All that being said, for the most part, I’ve done pretty good. New York has become our home, and we’ve been surrounded for the past twelve years by many great friends and our church family. And I’ve accepted the distance for what it is, and have always tried to make the most of visits back home to Michigan.
But some days, I just miss being close to my sisters. I wish we could spend more birthdays and holidays together. I wish I could love on their little ones and that they would know Aunt “Yaura” a little better. I wish I could take shopping trips with my sisters and Mom whenever and that we could share in the bigger life moments that are always going on. I wish that our kids could go out on summer nights and get ice creams with their grandparents and be surrounded by their cousins too.
But in the end, I just have to smile wistfully. And I have to think, it’d be pretty crazy to take fifteen grandkids out for ice cream, right? And even though I miss my family sometimes, I know that they are good and we are good and that we’re all pretty much where God wants us to be. And I know that when we do get to have time together, we’ll make the most of it and cherish it a bit more than we might have if we were always together.
So that’s it. To my friends who live far from family, I feel your pain. But I know that in the end, it’s okay and I can find so much gratitude in being right where God has called, surrounded by those amazing people that he’s brought into our lives.