It’s the day before the day before New Years Day. As typically happens during the holidays, people think about what’s important. One of the most important things to me is family. Until recently we’ve had somewhat fractured holidays, usually filled with trips and happy homecomings. But, it’s been different recently.
I moved to Kentucky in August of 2006 to attend law school, exactly one year after John (my older brother), did. At the time, it was me, John, and his wife, Alicia (“Lish” if you know her). In the early years of being down here, I made frequent trips North to see James (my twin brother) in Pittsburgh, to see friends in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and to see my parents in New Jersey. All of those occasions were full of happiness, and still are when I meet up with friends:
Lehigh Lafayette 2012…only one dirty Lehigh shirt in the bunch.
The family dynamic has shifted however. Since 2006, my father retired, and after some searching, my parents decided to move to Kentucky. Instead of seeing them only a few times a year, I now see them on a nearly weekly basis. Some of the luster has been removed from the meetings. Then, James moved to Kentucky in 2011. Instead of being at least 6 hours apart, he’s been in the same city ever since. Events with family have become more casual. There isn’t any catching up to do when we get together. No one is congratulated for how far they’ve come. No one says they’ve “missed you,” mostly because it’d be a little melodramatic if they did. The truth is, we haven’t missed each other recently.
In the past few days I’ve been compiling pictures and going through all the things that have happened in the past year. Undoubtedly one of the busiest and most memorable years I’ll have. I’ve noticed that many of the memories I formed this year, wouldn’t be there if there were distance between people. This year most of my family went to the Kentucky Derby, and I’ve gone on many hikes with my brothers. I’ve had dinners with the entire family present at my house, for no special occasion other than to just get together. Some of the trips I’ve taken, like Lehigh-Lafayette, and a visit to Pennsylvania, have been with family members, not just to see family members. We’ve been creating memories together, a shared memory.
There isn’t much to catch up on, because my family and I don’t need to catch up as much. The opposite is also true for seeing friends. I miss friends more now, because I’m far away. Before, I didn’t need to miss them. As much as I can, I like to see them and catch up. And those are great occasions because it happens less regularly. It’s really been a year of realizing the “near and far” of relationships. Both have their positives and negatives. But I think importantly, I’ve learned not to take for granted the “near” relationships. There isn’t the great excitement of seeing someone for the first time in awhile, but there also isn’t as much missing someone.