I must still be on central time, or maybe I’m just too excited about sharing photos from the end of our trip, but it’s 1:30 am and I’m not tired at all. It’s funny; I’ve gone through phases when late, late night just worked for me: middle school, when I would stay up for hours just to read “one more” chapter in a book; early college, when Chris and I took 2 am study breaks at Denny’s; and now, in the past year, when I find myself most productive into the wee hours of the morning. I’m not sure how long night time energy will last. After Nora was born, I was tucked snuggled around her sweet little body in bed by 8:30 most nights and still exhausted in the morning. Surely late night exhaustion and a general lack of energy will follow Peach’s arrival, so for now I am taking advantage of every moment of productivity regardless of when it happens — which is why I’m sitting up long after Nora and Chris have drifted off to sleep, going through the final photos from the weekend, uploading and tagging albums on Facebook, and writing a blog post to share my favorite pictures.
I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have been able to make the trip to Kansas City. Though I very much love our life in Nantucket and our life in New York before that, we do miss out on relationships with family. Trips to Texas happen occasionally thanks to the generosity of Chris’ mom and my mom, who have been willing to help us fly out there, but even those are just once per year occurrences. Trips to Iowa are even farther and fewer between: the last time Chris and I went back to Cedar Rapids, where I grew up and where my dad, step-mom and her family live, was Christmas of 2007 just after our wedding. My dad has made a few trips out our way to see us and my step-mom came to New York right after Nora was born, but many of my other Iowa family members, including one of my brothers, had not yet met Nora. Thank goodness for weddings…and weddings in locations like Kansas City which enabled me to to see family from both my mom’s side and my dad’s side in one shot.
Not only did we get to spend time with my mom’s mom, Nora’s great-grandmother,
who fed us, pampered us and spoiled us for a whole week, but we also got to spend time with my mom, step-dad, Texas brothers, and my great-uncle and great-aunt from Louisiana, all of whom who drove up just to spend time with us. And on top of that, we had a chance to spend time with my dad,
my Iowa brothers,
my step-mom, grandparents, and tons and tons of aunts uncles and cousins, during an amazingly beautiful event. My brother Stephen finally got to meet Nora
and I finally got to meet his fiancee (only a day before she became his wife).
It seems that the older we get, the further apart we all move, and the less often we see one another. Different careers and some still in school come very different schedules, which, combined with the high cost of travel, make any opportunity to see all my brothers, parents, and extended family at once a true gift.
When I was a child, it wasn’t too far for us to travel to see grandparents and cousins (even the ones on the east coast we saw at least twice per year), and I definitely took that closeness for granted. When I watch Nora interacting with my family and when I see her excitement at meeting new cousins, a tinge of sadness mixes with the joy of the moment.
I don’t really wish to go back to Iowa or Texas, but I do wish I could move our families here.
Chris and I often talk about the positives and negatives associated with living nearer to family — whether it would be worth it to give up this place in order to have them play a bigger role in our lives. Usually I think that Nantucket and all its magic is worth the distance, but after trips like this I wonder if perhaps that’s not so.
Despite that, we are happy to be home, even if it took three airplanes
(including one that was no bigger than a car) and a lot of exhaustion to get us here, and even if we miss waking up to grandmas, grandpas, and boatloads of uncles. We’re happy to sleep in our own beds surrounded by more pillows than one would think possible to fit on a mattress, happy to take showers in our own tub under a sprayer with the perfect amount of water pressure, happy to leave 90 degree Kansas behind for cool evenings and open windows, and, of course, happy to pick our crazy, shedding doggy up from the vet.
Now I sit on my own couch, smiling at photos and memories,
already missing our family,
but happy to be back to our patch of sand, 30 miles out to sea.