The weekend has slipped into the past, now it's after 10 p.m. on Sunday. It slipped away in a welter of snapshot images from the lenses of my eyes: Karin playing soccer, the swirly clouds, a beautiful sunset after a day of grey. White lilacs and popping peonies and a quick visit from my cousin Cate, 2 of her daughters, London the dog and a visiting friend with child in tow. The suitcases have been brought down from the attic, and stand ready to be filled with the minimum of necessities. It's hard to believe I will be on a plane in 4 short days.
I couldn't check in online yet, though I did try, and I couldn't even pick seats, which has me a bit worried as I don't want to be separated from the kids for the transatlantic flight, even by a few rows. It's bumming me out that Anders won't be with us, though I know we'll be just fine. I've got the passports and the shopping lists and a couple of books of crossword puzzles, and presents for family and piles of clothing started, and a million lists in my head of things that have to be done each day in order to be ready to leave on time.
I can't wait to see my mom and my brother and his wife, and my sister and her family and my aunts and uncles and grandma and cousins and their kids and my college roommates and my friends in Chicago and my friends from Texas. When you move this far away from your family, it's like a physical ache sometimes, that separation.
We can't get back to the States as a family every year, though that would be my dream ideal. The last time we were there as a family was Easter 2007. That's MUCH too long, as far as I'm concerned. It bothers me that my kids don't see my mom and their cousins as often as I could like. That they will grow up not having the same kind of connection to their extended family...MY extended family, that I have. We do our best to instill it, to stress its importance and to nurture every opportunity, but there's no denying that distance makes a difference. Despite email and phone calls and and blogging and facebook, there's no substitute for face-to-face time with our loved ones.
Burny Candle-Bright Belated Birthday Wishes to Jeanine, Heather and anniz!