On bad days, I feel sorry for myself because I'm an eight-hour drive from my parents and brother's family and a four-hour drive from most of my other relatives...and because I can't do anything about it (joint-custodial relationship of Cade, blah blah blah). Holidays, often, are pretty much the same as Saturdays except with brown-sugar ham. I mean, brown-sugar ham is nice and all, but I feel like I'm missing out in being so far away from my family. (I'm not yet at the Caroline Ingalls point of [to her husband Charles]: "My home is where you are. And you and the children are my family." To be honest, I'd like to smack Caroline right about now.) Holidays can be especially depressing when Cade's with his dad. I just...UGH!...feel like someone has kicked me in the gut, sometimes, when Cade's away.
And I could go on and on. Actually, maybe I will for awhile. You're not a captive audience, so I don't feel sorry for you. You can close this mess down whenever you want.
My family hardly ever visits me here. I'm pretty sure that--in 2010--the only people biologically linked to me who have been to my house are my mom, my cousin-sister Andrea, and my Aunt Ellie's family. I'm guessing everyone else is thinking that I'm the one who moved away from home, so I'm the one who should travel in order to make visits possible. That's somewhat fair. I don't mind doing, say, seventy-five percent of the traveling. But at what point do the family members to whom I am close (excluding my grandma, who gets a permanent, free pass) think: wow, Brandee is making a real effort to maintain our relationship, and she has little kids, so I think I'll travel this time? I would yell at some of them, but--honest to Pete--I'm so happy to see them when I get to wherever they live that I temporarily forget all my bad feelings. It's when Jim, the girls, and I are eating brown-sugar ham by ourselves that I have the trouble.
On the up side. 1) I have family members with whom I actually want to spend time. Lots and lots of them, since my mom is one of seven children, and my dad is one of five. 2) It's not like I NEVER see my family members. (It feels like never sometimes, but it's not never.) Poor Caroline Ingalls: when she let Charles drag her hind end across the country, she wasn't sure if she would EVER see her people again! 3) The cousin-sister and cousin-niece live only forty-five minutes away. I get to see them a little more often than most of the other people in my family. (Note to self: I should make more of an effort, there.) 4) Jim and I have some darling friends in Powhatan who go out of their way to include us in their family experiences. Pretty cool of them.
I was watching The Wizard of Oz with Clementine (who might be more obsessed with it than I) again, today, and I got to thinking: that Dorothy! At the end of the movie, she trades her Technicolor Oz of besties, glittery shoes, and fascinating opportunities for crappy old, black-and-white Kansas. She's killed the enemies in Oz, but Miss Gulch is still riding her sad bicycle somewhere around Auntie Em's and Uncle Henry's farmhouse; you know she is! She'll be coming back for Toto! And as soon as everyone at Dorothy's bedside sees that she really is ok, they're going to go back to ignoring her while they count chickens and tend hogs. So why in the world does she go back to Kansas? Easy: because her family is there.
*sigh* I have the sense that I'm in Oz, longing for Kansas.
So, anyway, if you're in my family, try not to get too angry with me because of this blog post. Just come visit me, sometime! I am longing for your company and will be so, so happy to see you. I will bake you cookies: any kind you want! I will sing, dance, whatever it takes to entertain you! And--if you can't manage the drive--can you, like, call me sometime?
Man. That would be so awesome.