“Family can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” We’ve all heard the saying. We recently went home to my husband’s hometown of Minneapolis.
Minnesota is beautiful this time of year. It was a much needed break from the Texas heat and humidity.
What made this trip special is we were able to spend more time, 6 days in total with our families. I say families because my parents drove up from Indiana to visit with us and my in-laws. We were able to attend my husband’s childhood friend’s wedding, visit the Minnesota State Fair, celebrate my sweet father in law’s birthday, and welcome our niece home from her 1st day of Kindergarten.
We haven’t seen our families since our wedding in May. Before that, since the holidays. I did go home in March for my Bachelorette party, bridal shower, and final dress fitting. AND… I did spend Dec-Feb with my family. I do get to see my family a little more often than my husband gets to see his family. That’s because I don’t have a workplace to go to and it’s easier for me to travel.
My family lives in Indiana. My husband’s family lives in Minnesota. We lived in California. Now we live in Texas. We will most likely never live in the same state as either of our families. I’m ok with that. We may not get to spend every birthday, holiday, or every weekend together, but that doesn’t make us any less of a family.
My entire life I’ve maintained the stance: “I could never leave my family. I could never live far away from my family. I could never leave Chicago.” Well, I was wrong. I am, and everything is good. Really. Having a close relationship with my family is an important part of my life. Now I’m learning to live apart from those I hold the closest to my heart. It’s not necessarily easy, especially in the beginning.
The hardest part for me has to have been missing the birth of my 1st born nephew. I wasn’t there to welcome my nephew into the world. I wasn’t there for my little brother, who isn’t so little and 28yrs old. I couldn’t be there to see him become a father or see my parents become 1st time grandparents. I did go home a month later. I still got see my nephew in the newborn stage of life. I still got to smell his sweet baby scent. I still got to hold his tiny self and hug him as he slept and slept and slept.
On my husband’s side of the family, we have one niece and nephew. They are 5 and 3yrs old. Every time we see them they get bigger, they use more words, and they have more energy. We do our best to send birthday gifts, Halloween treats, and other holiday gifts. We want them to know, even though we only see one another a handful of times a year, they are thought of and loved. We are still a family. We have been fortunate enough to spend the Christmas holidays – New Year’s with our families.
I’ve learned since moving away from my family, a little space and time apart is quite normal and healthy. I think for 1st and 2nd generation Americans it’s often difficult and huge amounts of guilt can come along with that decision. I was alleviated from that guilt as I was given the blessing from my family to follow my life journey. My Papi actually told me, “I can’t stand in the way of love. If you have to go, then you have to go and find your happiness and follow your love.” That’s not an easy thing for a Mexican father to tell his only daughter, and it wasn’t without tears in both of our eyes.
Sure, I could’ve never moved. It would have been at the expense of my own happiness. I’m a much better daughter, sister, and friend because I followed my heart and my own life journey. My husband’s career has a good chance of moving us, again and again. I maintain the stance, “wherever you go, I go.” That’s the truth. I’m excited about our unknown possibilities in the world. His path and my path are one.
I think of my grandparents who left Mexico to start a new journey and life together. I think of all immigrant families who’ve crossed borders, oceans, deserts, for whatever their reasons. For most of our families to continue their journey and path in life. As a species, humans, have been moving since the start of humanity for survival, safety, freedom, opportunities, you name it. This is just the beginning of our journey together.
We may not get to spend every weekend, holiday, or special event with our families. However, I assure you, it makes the time we do spend together sweet as tres leches cake.