Monday, September 05, 2005

1. I'm not ready to settle down in one place yet.
2. Jeff and I have a better relationship when we're not committed long-term, so we need a natural end-date.
3. Daniel needs a roommate.
4. I've never lived in a city.
5. I think I'm ready to be a student again and I really like the University of Chicago.

These are all valid reasons for why I'm leaving Orcas Island and moving to Chicago. However, I was reminded today of why I am actually moving home: I need to be a part of my family again.

I know, I know. There are all sorts of platitudes to be offered up that say, you'll always be part of your family, no matter where you are and you take your family with you just by being you and unconditional love know no bounds. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's all true, I guess, and comforts those that have no choice but to be separated. But the reality is that my family is a network of relationships and those relationships have continued growing and changing without me since I left. It was true when my dad went away to prison and it was true when David went to Texas and it was true when Paul went to Madison. The rest of us got used to them being gone.

We still loved them, but their absence was accepted as normal after awhile. I don't know if other families are like this, but mine is a group of pragmatists.

This became clear to me today when I talked to my mom for the first time in a couple of weeks. One of the main topics of conversation was the wedding of a woman my age whose family has been close to my family since before both of us were born. Needless to say, I missed the wedding. However, all three of my brothers went, which is a pretty rare and - here's the big deal - two of them brought girlfriends.

Now, I know these girlfriends have existed. But, until this wedding, they had not been introduced to the family at large. Mom had not met them. Now, these girls are officially part of my brothers' lives and, therefore, my family's history and I wasn't there. I'm not part of that chapter of family history. If either one of them breaks up with either of these girls before I get back, I will not have even an image of her in my head to reference when she got brought up at Thanksgiving dinner years hence. I need to go back.

Usually, I miss my family in a generalized way: my life does not feel quite as vibrant or secure without regularly being refreshed by time spent in their company. Today is a much more actively empty day emotionally. Blech.

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