Saturday, September 08, 2012

extended family

i'm not really close to any of my extended family. most of my mom's family is scattered about the western states, while my dad managed to be the only one of his family to escape small town iowa (thank you!) we'd take a trip down to visit them once a year or so, but they're iowans and i spent most of the time just trying to sneak out to play pool in my aunt and uncle's basement. so, when people tell me they're excited to see their grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle/cousins/pop-pop, i feel like data the android from star trek: i know i'm supposed to feel an emotion, but am clueless as to what that feels like.

so, i figured that that was how life went: you grow up, go off to college in a new town or state (depending on how adventurous you are), then get a job somewhere, most likely in a different new town or state. when people ask you about your family, you get to name off several different states.

and that's kind of how my life went. i grew up in minnesota then went to byu in utah after my mission. my sister did the same thing: grow up in minnesota then go to byu. my brother played it slightly differently, growing up in minnesota then going to college locally, but we got him out to utah after he graduated, and he ended up getting a masters at byu anyway.

my brother and i were roommates for a while and still saw each other regularly after he got his own place in town. my sister and i did pretty much everything together until she met that one boy and once her family started growing i was an active part of my nephew's life. even when they moved to salt lake (the first time in our lives--excepting our missions--that she and i hadn't lived in the same town, she noted) i would often stop by there on my way to or from whatever shoot i was on.
and while my parents missed us in minnesota, they could come out to visit utah and we'd all be there, at least.

then i moved to texas. a year later, my sister and her family moved to seattle. and a few months ago, my brother and his wife moved to california. they almost moved to north carolina, which would've spread my family out to all four corners of the united states. still, we're pretty dang far apart. last year i got to go home for thanksgiving with my parents, and my brother and lyndsie came home for Christmas, but i haven't seen my sister or nephews or brother-in-law in a while.

when i came to texas two years ago, my closest family member was over a thousand miles away. and it was something that i'd never really thought about, i guess because i'd always had family nearby. i remember we were unpacking my uhaul into apt. #585 here, my dad commented that i was lucky that i didn't have a family with me. and yeah, i guess it was good to not have to worry about kids adjusting to a new place or a wife not having to rebuild her life here.

but i also thought about how nice it would be to have family with me. there's comfort in family. they're home.

i miss the days of going back to minnesota in the winter and my brother greeting me with a big strong hug. of going hiking with my brother-in-law. of playing with caleb and being cool uncle jeff. and of going to ihop with my sister.

i left utah to build a better life for my future family. i'm not really sure where they are yet, but i'm realizing that there's more to family than just your own wife and kids. obviously, had i just stayed around utah, i'd probably still be the only gustafson there anyway.

just some thoughts.

1 comment:

The Former 786 said...

Huh. And here I was complaining that my brother was leaving my parents' house and moving about 15 minutes away. I guess I should stop complaining.