I was fully expecting my next post to be Part II of my D.C. housing Rom Com (which I do have written and waiting for you all). However, sometimes in life you reach a moment where absolutely everything else in the world can pause for a second because nothing else could possibly come close to being as important as what you are feeling immediately right now — I love my family. I love my family from both the darkest and lightest depths of my true being. They actually know who I am. And I miss the hell out of them.
Today, I put on my grandmother’s necklace, and maybe that’s what somehow triggered this evening’s eruption of the pressure in my chest cavity that had been building throughout the day, of which I couldn’t quite pinpoint the catalyst. I blamed this feeling on something going on in the atmosphere. I blamed it on not getting enough sleep. I blamed it on the endless questioning of what I should be doing with my life. But, I should’ve known what it was. For, in the morning, a smile overtook my face the moment I clutched my necklace in my hand and thought, If only she could see me now, as I walked to the metro on my way to work. For, despite still not convincing myself to go to bed earlier, I woke up more refreshed than I have in a while because my mother had sent me a new, soothing alarm clock in response to my woeful calls to her about sleepy mornings. For, at 4:00pm when I was starting to feel a bit lethargic, I knew instinctively to text my dad:
Me: Oh God, what’s it all about? An hour ago I thought I knew, but now I have no idea!! #ephemeralangst
And I knew I could expect a quick reply that would lighten my mood through a giggle produced by the humor that only we can really share together:
I mean, hell, I should have known what it was the other night when my brother and I were both awake late cracking up over the same online comics. I should have known that this building pressure was the precursor of the simple, but profound realization that, damn it, I miss my family. If there is one thing the east coast is lacking, it sure is a lot of them. And I try to be, oh, so stoic all of the time. I try to keep the bigger picture in mind. I try to remind myself that I’m living out these dreams that my family ultimately made available to me. I try to keep it all in perspective. But, maybe, sometimes I need them a bit more than a five-hour plane ride followed by a five-hour (seven if you ask my mother) drive is able to allow. Is that ok to admit?
I was doing really well tonight. I cooked a tasty dinner. I ate it while watching one of my favorite shows. I put in some laundry. I had had a really productive day at work. Things were pretty decent. But then, all of a sudden, I realized — sweet Jesus — I’m wrapped in a blanket surrounded by about a dozen mascara-soaked Kleenex. I was in the midst of the most healing cathartic sob ever, a complete dump of raw emotion. And, just as quickly as I became aware of what was happening, I entered a place of clear stillness. And I found some really beautiful awareness there.
I love my mother. I love my father. I love my brother. I love the people who they have found to love. I love my many eclectic aunts and uncles and cousins. I love my grandmothers. I love that “Great Pigeon” of a grandpa from New York who I never got to meet in person, but who I learned about through legend and song and the exchanging of a few handwritten letters. These people are such bizarrely interconnected pieces of the very tissue that shapes my own frame.
I think my mother too often gets the short-end of the stick. That woman did so much for me when I was growing up. She did all of those things that it took me turning 24 on the other side of the country to really recognize and appreciate how much they shaped me, shaped my future. She can drive me absolutely crazy like no one else I know, but I also know that I throw it right back at her. And, I know that underneath anything and everything, all she ever wants to do is to love me with as much of her as she possibly can. And I adore her for it. I really do, Bren — even when I give you a hard time. She’s a beautiful woman. (Also, I thought about calling my mother tonight when I was all quivering-lip-y, but sometimes I don’t like her knowing I get teary-eyed and homesick because then she always tells me to come home. And then I get unreasonably flustered.)
My brother is, to this day, the coolest guy I know. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually told him this, but a good chunk of my “success” is a direct result of my complete infatuation with him when I was little. I thought he was the world’s smartest person. So, I worked hard in school with the hopes of being just as smart as him someday. When I was little, I looked up to my brother like he was this magical gem. Today, when I see him, it’s just like looking at a best friend. I’m so glad that when my tender little heart entered this crazy world that it entered already having the best partner in crime it ever could.
And, then, there is my dad. Somehow, I think we ended up a lot alike, pops. We’re this really strange combination of dark and dour with light and loving. My dad already gets “it” before I say anything. I’m not sure how he does it, but this man can flip my mood around in a second. I have very distinct moments where I know I just need to call him and things will feel right in my over-processing, twenty-something mind again. We’ve shared some great laughs over the years. He’s the most amazingly cozy security blanket disguising itself as a typical man that has ever existed.
Life happens so quickly. I try to pack too many things into a day, and sometimes get so wrapped up in it all that I fail to stop for a moment to just absorb the feeling of loving someone. Work is great and it can add a lot of meaning and purpose to your life. But work shouldn’t be all you have. At the end of the day, it really boils down to the relationships that we keep, that we cherish, that we grow and nurture and praise. And it doesn’t have to be direct family. It can be anyone really — anyone whose life enhances yours and where yours does the same for them. I am a hard worker, but I’ll never sacrifice losing the powerful love of my relationships for a fleeting period of work. You either figure that out, or you don’t. And, I say, good luck to you.
Tonight, when everything got super still and my tears stopped all at once, everything made more sense than it ever had. It was that moment when you realize that it was never really that bad, even when it was. It was a moment of awakening — to forgive and to love. I miss my family.