So there we are, in the middle of and in the suburbs of Seattle, surrounded by the scenes of family, forest-come-ocean, urban life, the coziness and warmth of home and the excited buzz of the city; and it comes to me: I feel more relaxed and "at home" in those few days, in that house (well, mom's apartment), with these people, realizing that I belong in this family--my family, this is my family--than I have in all the years of living here.
This amazes me because up until this very last trip, I have always felt that home is here, where we are. And it is! Don't get me wrong. It is just simply felt more... like home there; EVEN though it's not where I grew up or the house I grew up in or anything even remotely resembling what I knew as a child. But it did. It felt more like home there than I thought could be possible. Perhaps it is because that's how family is supposed to make you feel and that being surrounded by the people I grew up with brought on a fondness that I don't experience here. Maybe it's that I've worked so hard to make that kind of home for my own children in a place that is so astonishingly foreign from my American upbringing that I've equally forgotten or disregarded how I have felt about missing my own family. Maybe it's just the comfort of family that does that.
The point is, it surprised me. I spent a lot of time wailing about my family in my early years, the family I came from--my "old" family--the one that had old dynamics and bad habits and cramped quarters and just all of those old growing pains that came from being so close yet so temperamental. Yet, just as momentary a realization as it is, it is a culmination of time, effort, space, trials, tribulations, even baggage that eventually comes a point where we all--ALL--can let that stuff go and respect each other for their own stories and still be the kids we were with the benefit of being adults. And we've come a long way.
I love my family. Every single one of them. And it doesn't matter what they do, what butthead thing happens between us, I will just always love them, always be proud of them because I know what good people they are, how deep their souls feel, and that our blood truly is thicker than water. And... it just doesn't matter. Unconditional love is unconditional love. It is love without conditions. I just haven't been filled with that kind of uber comforting, warm-fuzziness as I have going with my brothers and their families to the zoo and aquarium, sitting with my nieces and nephews in my mom's house, bonding with my stepdad since my girls were born. Which leaves me to wonder things about myself, my past, what will be, and what should be--even so much as to wonder what needs to be, what we are missing out on, and wondering if there's anything we could do to change the frequency of visits. I'm left to wonder if maybe, just maybe, it's time to go home.