growing up. growing apart.


personal photo

I sit here. At my new desk (oh yeah, I finally got a new desk!). And post-weekend thoughts are catching up with me. I’m into my New Year weekend routine (which I love). Saturdays and Sundays are pretty locked in. But my 2011 Fridays are mine.

I spent my Friday doing what I needed to do and then Friday evening I made a quick jaunt to a well-known arena for a game. A hockey game. To see the game, yes. But more than that, to see family. A family member. A cousin. Coach.

I went alone. And had time to think during the intermissions. To text another cousin on her birthday. To reflect on family memories. To dwell on the thought that we are no longer kids.

We have grown up. And grown apart.

This past Christmas was different. Different from childhood Christmases with cousins crawling all over the place. Different because we’re no longer children. Some of my cousins, most of my cousins, have their own children. And miles mark the distance between us. Life situations and busy schedules push us further and further apart. And different because grandparents are no longer present – they are no longer the centerpiece for family gatherings. And it feels like a family crumbles when grandparents are gone.

But. We’re still connected.

But. Only when we make the effort.

Nowadays, it takes much more effort to see one another. To pack up the car or jump on the plane. Conveniences of e-mail, texts, and facebook have helped to shave off the extreme distances, but it can only do so much.

We are in charge now. To make the call. To plan the trip.

Sometimes we run into each other out and about. I’ve run into two cousins at the MOA and at other area malls. Most recently, in December, I went to my favorite local mall with a friend and looked over and saw my cousin walking right next to us! I’ve run into cousins at gas stations. At hockey games. And in other random, Minnesota-ish places.

But those are rare occurrences and cannot be relied on.

If we waited to see each other in random locations, we’d never see each other.

So. I make an effort. At least, I want to make an effort. To call more. Text more. Facebook more. E-mail more. And visit more.

I fail quite often. I succeed sometimes.

Friday night, I think I succeeded.

See, the Friday night I experienced was a reminder of the important things in life – of the importance of family – of carving out time – of closing the gap and meeting half-way. I felt like I was with my entire family on Friday night – even though I only saw one cousin – I only texted one cousin. But it was there. That feeling of family. Of closeness.

After the game, I waited. To see my cousin. I thought back on many years ago when I’d wait for him after games. And I thought of the irony. Because even back then, when we were younger, distance separated us and effort was the only way we ever saw each other.

It’s not easy. This whole growing up stuff. It never has been. It never will be. Ever. But it’s worth it. Very, very worth it.

Growing up doesn’t mean growing apart.

Growing apart doesn’t mean growing up.

___________________________________________________________

I ask. You answer.

  1. The older you get, is it harder or easier to make family time?
  2. How are your family holidays different now from when you were a child? Or have they not changed?
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2 thoughts on “growing up. growing apart.

  1. It is super hard to see family..everyone is always soooo busy. But on both sides of my family, we set up weekends where every family member “must” attend. This is a for sure way to make great family memories.
    Family holidays have for sure changed, but for the better. You cannot help the fact that everyone is getting older. It is fun to see everyone change and start there own little families!

  2. That’s awesome that your family holds “must” attend weekends. We’re so spread apart that that would be difficult, but I love the concept!
    True – you can’t help the fact that everyone ages. And yes, it can be super fun to see cousins start their own families. But still. There’s that piece of childhood that I think I will forever mourn.
    PS — Your thick Minnesota accent is coming across loud and clear in this comment — I can “for sure” hear you talking! 🙂

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