But I think the hardest thing of all is being away from family. Family is a huge part of my life. I'm not a social butterfly at all. Honestly, if I was to consult a professional on the issue they would probably think I had a personality disorder. I don't. I just like my circle of comfort and you better not mess with it. But my family is in that circle. And they always will be. They are my heart and soul.
Every time I hear their voices, a smile becomes instantaneous. They sound like home. I'd drop everything to be home for them faster than I would for anything else. And it's not just because I'm in desperate need of a babysitter (though Lord knows they're the only ones I trust with my kid) it's just the feeling of being with people that love me unconditionally. Having my daddy cook me one of his unparalleled meals. Hearing my mom boss me around because she just can't help herself even though I'm a grown girl now.
It's weird how you spend the first at least 18 years of your life with your family and then suddenly it's time to say goodbye and become your own person. I never appreciated the togetherness and normalcy of family when I was younger. I saw them every day. It was no big deal back then. Now I ache for those days at times. All of us sitting around the dinner table to share a meal and laughter. Watching movies late into the night. Taking trips and having no worries.
But that's the cruelty of childhood. I like the simple quote, "Don't grow up, it's a trap." So true. You spend years of your young life dreaming of getting out from under your parental authority and the rest of your life wishing you could go back and stay there.
Then it sometimes hits me how lucky I am that I have the memories at all. That I am truly blessed to know that when we do go back home, there will be a huge welcoming committee full of loving arms to greet us.
It's heartbreaking to know that there are a great deal of people that don't know that feeling. People who have had to go through life alone; who never had a family to call their own. Orphans, abandoned children, kids born to addicts and selfish parents who chose the world over their own flesh and blood. I sometimes can't wrap my mind around it. But I know it's more common than I can probably even imagine.
If you are one of those children, I am truly sorry. There is no person in this world who doesn't deserve the love and comfort a family brings. I may not have had the most functional of families but at the end of they day, we were still that...a family. The older I get, the more I cherish them. And then becoming a mother opens up a whole new world of appreciation. My daddy just laughs because he knows he was right all these years. Growing up is easy, being a grown up is the really hard part.
So if nothing else comes from this impromptu trip to New Mexico, I have a healthy appreciation for the presence of family in my life. They are such a solid foundation to build my life upon and I am blessed to have each and every one of them.
Family really is forever. You can take that to bank and cash it.