I came from a close family. My parents were married 56 years, and I am still close to both of my brothers and my sister, in fact, I talked to all three today. The thing is, I am 3000 miles from my family. Or what's left of it. My parents have both passed, and it is just us kids left (kids? I am the youngest at 50, and my sister is probably in her 70's (I'm just kidding)). I have lots of nephews and nieces, and now even a few great nephews and nieces, but they are all on the other side of the country. It has been 13 years since I have been home for Christmas. Last night, I talked to my nephew's new wife on the phone. I have never met her, and I don't know when I ever will. Now, if you are not from a close family, that won't mean anything to you, but if you are, you will know what I mean. It's just not right.
Understand, this is all by my own choice. I wanted to leave home, I needed to leave home. I have always had this inner drive to be on my own, and as the son of a man who was the son of a man that needed to be out west, I had to move. Granted, it took awhile to get the balls to actually do it, but I truly don't think that I would have ever found happiness if I had not made the move, and I thank God on a daily basis that I am here.
However, I never had any idea of the cost, and I am thankful for that. I was 3000 miles away when my Dad passed, and I was just as far when Mom passed. There is not a day that goes by that I don't feel guilt for not being there when she died. And, I will never forget how my dad looked the day we left to move out here. He seemed so old and small. His youngest was leaving, and for a man who spent his whole life taking care of his family, Idaho was a world away.
It was five years before I got back to Georgia. Over the years, I have been back a handful of time, mostly for funerals. Again, by my choice. When we get to take a vacation, we want to go to places in the west; mountain biking in Moab, or Gooseberry Mesa, or Orcas Island, ect. I spent my time in the South, I have no desire to go back. Except, for family.
Well, there you have it, my Blue Christmas piece. If you came to this blog expecting to read about bicycle commuting, or backcountry skiing, I sincerely apologize. This is all Lark's fault. She sent me a video of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here for Christmas, and it got me to thinking about family, and all that we left behind. On nights like this, I do Wish I Was There. I would love to sit in my brothers house, amongst the mayhem, and soak in the joy of family. But my life is here now, and looking around at my sleeping wife, and a bed full of animals, I can honestly say, It's a Wonderful Life (again, I apologize).