Yesterday was kind of an intense day. There was the whole commute from Germany back to New York with Jackson by myself that probably shed a couple years from my life. In addition to sitting on a plane for almost 11 hours (eight and a half of which were in the air), during which time a teething Jack slept approximately 40 minutes and spent the rest of the time clawing my face and pulling my hair and poking and hitting the guy sitting next to us (who managed to avoid eye contact with us for the whole flight), we also had a two hour drive to the airport from my parents’ place and then a 45-minutes drive home from the airport through rush hour traffic. And maybe all that wouldn’t have been quite so bad if we weren’t also dealing with the sadness of saying good-bye to my parents, too.
And that shit’s hard. If you’ve ever lived far from family — and I’m talking thousands of miles between you, not a two-hour drive — you know what I’m talking about. As much as the physical distance sucks, the psychic distance created by the miles and the ocean and different time zones and length of time it takes to get to each other sucks, too. And when there’s a child involved, as there is now in my family, the sadness is more acute. Adults can go a long time between visits and not feel like they’re missing out on too much. You miss seeing each other, sure. But you don’t feel like you’re missing out on important milestones and formative relationship-building moments. But when there’s a young child, you do, and it’s a fucking bummer.
I grew up only seeing my grandparents in the summer, sometimes even going two years between visits. I hope that my son will get to see his grandparents more than that. If I could change anything in my life — besides having more money which, duh — that would definitely be in the top two: having my family live closer. The other would be to eliminate all illness and emotional and physical pain from my family and friends’ lives; does that count as changing something in my life? I think so, since their health and well-being certainly affects me. And then my third thing would be to have enough career success and security that I could support our family and Drew could have career independence to pursue more of what fulfills him (including spending more time with Jack during the week).
What about you? If you could change anything in your life — besides your money situation — what would it be? (It doesn’t have to be something likely or even possible; it can be pure fantasy thinking, like imagining yourself with Gisele Bündchen’s hair or something.).
p.s. The photo above was taken last week in my parent’s neighborhood right before a big thunderstorm. Peaceful, isn’t it?
* If you’ve got a suggestion for a future open thread topic, email me at email@example.com.