I’m flying home at the end of April to spend a long Easter weekend with my family in Illinois. My sister will be in town visiting from LA, and it will be the only opportunity my family will have to see me while pregnant. Since we went to Tim’s parents’ house in Florida for Christmas last year, I haven’t been to my parents’ house since Christmas 2009. Fortunately, I did get to see my family more last year than usual. I had a work trip in Chicago last May and it just happened to be Mother’s day weekend. I extended my work trip a few extra days after the conference and stayed with my sister and her husband. My parents drove up for a night, and I got to spend Mother’s Day with my mom.
In June I rented a car and drove to Western PA by myself to see my parents and attend a family reunion for my dad’s side of the family. My parents drove from Illinois and brought my grandpa, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to see him and some family I hadn’t seen in years. I didn’t really know most of the people at the reunion. I remembered a few of them from the last reunion I went to–maybe 20 years ago–and I knew my grandpa’s brother David whom I’ve seen at least a couple of times in the last 10 years or so. It was nice to see my grandpa and David together. They are both getting on in years, and they both struggle with different health issues. They never know if this time may be the last time they see each other. The reunion happened to fall on Father’s Day weekend, so I got spend time with my Dad and Grandpa on Father’s Day–another happy coincidence.
In July Tim and I flew to Chicago together–this time for a vacation trip. Since my sister was planning a move to LA at the end of the summer, we wanted to see her one last time while she was still in Chicago. We usually visited around Christmas, when it was too cold to do a lot of the fun Chicago things. This trip was just the opposite. We went to a baseball game at Wrigley Field (by coincidence the Phillies happened to be in town that weekend); we went on a kayak tour through downtown Chicago; we even spent an afternoon at the beach of Lake Michigan, something my sister had been trying to get us to do for years. My parents came up to visit for one afternoon, and we had another mini-reunion with a couple of her sisters and her aunt and uncle at one of her cousin’s houses in the suburbs.
So, while I haven’t been home since 2009, it’s not as if I haven’t seen my family. Still, I’m really looking forward to my visit next month. By then, my ever-growing belly should be even more impressive. It will be fun to see my aunts and uncles at Easter and for my parents and sister to see me while I’m pregnant.
Growing up, my sister and I always imagined our adult selves living close together. If not in the same town, I just assumed we’d live in the same state when our kids were born. Well, life happens. I’m in Philadelphia, and she’s in LA. We still talk on the phone every few days and plan to Skype once the baby is born, but still it’s not the same as having Grandparents just a short Sunday drive away. We’ll figure it out as we go, and we’ll try to make each in-person visit really count. Still, I don’t have to like it.