(Darn you Blogger! I just spent a VERY long time writing a detailed post. I poured my heart out about family and my love for family - in addition to documenting our trips for Thanksgiving. I included pictures and as I went to publish it - POOF - it disappeared. Darn computer! So you won't get the full version - but hopefully the general idea will come through.)
This Thanksgiving was a unique one for our family in the fact that we were able to spend time with both families. I got to see all of my siblings (but Julia), inlaws, nieces/nephews - it was great! It was quick, but we loved seeing everyone.
To start out with we headed up to SLC on Wednesday. We visited with Grandma and Grandpa Whisler shortly and headed to see Grandma Marilyn at the nursing home. It was a great visit with them. Then we headed up to Heber City to meet up with the Ellis's. Cory's parents had rented a cabin for all of us to spend Thanksgiving at. It was a special Thanksgiving because Cory's sister Ashley and her family had recently moved to Washington, his brother Chase and his family will be moving to Indiana this month, and his brother Coby will be going on a mission this year. So this was kind of a "last hurrah" before we get spread across the country. The cabin was great and had all the comforts we could ask for (including hot water for showers once we figured that out....the last day....) there were games to play, a game room, a hot tub, we played the wii, the kids went fishing in grandma's fishing pond, decorated sugar cookies, watched movies, made a gingerbread house and played games. We also had Cory's cousin's family come for Thanksgiving and his uncle and family came up on Friday to visit too. So much fun! Cory met our newest niece Genevieve for the first time and I loved spending some time with her (even if she didn't love me so much - and showed me by having a messy, poopy diaper all over me....) Friday we even took family pictures - so we're excited to see how those turn out.
Saturday morning we got up before dawn and started our trip to Farmington, NM to see my family. We decided to be crazy and try to see my siblings before they headed home - since we hadn't seen some of them in a year, and hadn't met our niece Lucy yet (who is 7 months old!) Julia had headed back to school - so we missed her (darn it!) but we got to see everyone else. Paul and Nicole left shortly after we got there - but were around long enough to take some grandkid/cousins pictures (ha - that was a joke!) We loved getting to visit with Jed and Laura and their 2 sweet girls Allison and Lucy on Saturday and Sunday morning. Then we all headed home on Sunday afternoon. It was a VERY short trip for how much driving was involved - but it was worth it. Alli gave me the world's best hug when we got in the house - so it was worth every second in the car.
This holiday made me homesick - or 'family' sick more than ever. Being away from family is difficult before you have children - but as your children grow up and start having so much fun with their cousins and grandparents it's hard to be so far from them. I want the boys to have wonderful memories of their time with cousins - and that's hard when we're spread across the country. None of us will even live in the same state by the end of this year! We're in Utah, Ashley & Spencer's family - Washington state, Chase & Kori's family - Indiana (for grad school), Coby will be on a mission as of August, Julia - Idaho, Jed & Laura's family - Dallas, TX, and Paul & Nicole's family - New Mexico. I wish more than anything that we could spend day-to-day time together. When we ARE together (which is too infrequently....) it is pressured by time constraints, and we're tired from traveling, stressed that our kids aren't behaving because they are exhausted from traveling and we're all out of wack because we have funny sleeping arrangements. Overall the version that our family sees of us isn't our best - and that makes me sad. I want to get to do every-day stuff together - and have every-day experiences. I wish we could trade babysitting, have Sunday dinners together, cousin sleep-overs, go out to lunch with my sister and sister-in-laws. I wish that we all somehow lived on the same block and could have BBQ's in the summer and borrow cups of flour when we needed to make cookies. I wish I could visit with my mother-in-law or sister-in-laws out on the lawn in the afternoon and have them hug me and tell me I'm doing my best at being a mom.
I am sad that it seems like I'm missing out on parts of my nieces and nephews growing up. I would love to discuss books with Lexie (I still want to read some of the American Girl books with you!), go to Lincoln and Logan's ball games, play Barbies and princesses with Allison - I just wish that I could be more around them. I want my kids to have experiences with their aunts and uncles too, and for their cousins to be some of their best friends.
So if you live next door to your mom, or down the block from your brother - be grateful. Be grateful for the time you have together and the every-day experiences that you have with your family. Don't take it for granted and be thankful for it. There are some of us who don't have that and who drive for hours and hours (sometimes days) just to spend a few hours together as a family.
I love you guys. I love being a sister, a sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, aunt, daughter - I love being a part of a family, something that is bigger than me. I love sharing memories, genes, quirks. I love that we share the bonds of the gospel and that hopefully we will live together forever someday as an eternal family. So even if we live thousands of miles apart - I am truly blessed to have you in my life.