As I prepare to write this blog update, I'm struggling with just how "refreshingly" honest to be. Sometimes its so easy to bare my soul on this page, not having to put a specific face with whoever decides to read it - but other times I'm struck with just how public spouting my feelings off through this blog can be! Still, it is somewhat cathartic to just throw it all out there...so bear with me.
I just recently finished reading "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I would love to someday sit down and talk with her as both a writer and an emotionally confused woman (as most of us women are). The book explores the many different cultural views of marriage and family in a very personal way as she was quite honestly forced by the US government to marry her longtime partner due to the fact that he was Brazilian and was traveling to the US to live with her on temporary visas then leaving for just long enough to secure another visa, then coming back again...yeah eventually good old US Homeland Security caught up with them and they either had to get married or he would effectively be banned from the US - where they had made their home. I don't want to give away the entire book, but it was fantastic read and offered great insight to me on how so many cultures around the world view and practice marriage and family life.
The cultures that really struck home to me were the ones (pretty much all cultures outside the US) that place a great emphasis on keeping family close by. Many all living in the same house! This struck a deep chord within me, filling me with a sadness and incredibly strong longing to have that kind of real, geographical closeness to those I love. In short: Em was not meant to live alone! I would fit in very well with those wonderful close-knit clans and cultures who want to keep their relatives close by, living in the same house and village all their lives.
There is next to nothing I desire more than to live within shouting distance of those I love: my family of course, especially my sisters who I love so much and have been very spoiled to be so close to...and my "adopted" family - those wonderful friends in my life who have become just as close as family and just that vital to my own happiness.
But alas...we live in a culture where so many of us are isolated from our families and each other, everyone in their own houses, spread out over this vast nation...thankfully we have wonderful technological tools that allow us to keep in touch, but I wonder just how much we are all missing out because we don't live in a culture that values physical closeness to the ones you love. I know my heart aches every time I allow myself to dwell on the fact that my parents live states away in Oklahoma, that my younger sister lives out in Indiana (although she plans to move back to MD soon - hooray!), that my older sister and her wonderful family still live about 2 hours away, definitely out of shouting distance. I miss my friends, my wonderful family of friends spread out through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and even the U.K. and Indonesia!
And so I find myself contemplating on one hand how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family patched together from loving relatives to friends I consider extra siblings and at the same time almost resenting the fact that I was fortunate enough to have those relationships, only to be moved so far away from them that I miss so many of them daily.
I may joke about it, but my ultimate dream is to live in a neighborhood somewhere in this oh-so-vast country with all of my friends and family members right there with me. Our kids growing up together, cooking in each others kitchens, our husbands becoming fast friends and watching every sporting event imaginable together (since between all the guys I'm friends with and my soon-to-be-husband love all sports!), trading kids with each other as we find ourselves exasperated as mothers and ready for a break...life. Crazy, exhausting, joyful, amazing LIFE together...could there be a better dream?
Definitely not for me.