I’m home at my parent’s house and last night we listened to Linda Ronstadt and made tomato sauce, and sat at the kitchen table for a really long time. Only my dad checked his phone, because he’s pathological like that, my parents told old family stories and I felt this weird tough ache about how hard, sometimes, it is to be away.
When people ask if I’m close to my family I say, “Yes, I love them, but I’m pretty independent of them.” I think that’s still true. I don’t call every day, and I don’t the same kind of pressure some of my friends feel to make decisions their parents would approve of. They have let me go, I have never felt like I was on anything but my own path. But that almost makes me want to pull closer. When I’m around them I feel this need for physical closeness. My family is huggy.
Kate took me to Sea-Tac for my red eye Monday night and we got to talking about it on the drive, because I know she feels the same way, her family is the same as mine. There was a point where I thought she might bail for the east coast before I managed to move to Seattle, but so far she’s stayed, caught in that same void between wanting to feel close and needing to do her own thing. “I think, in some ways they want us out here,” she said “That independence is an important thing to them.”
I’ve been starting to feel that pull more lately, maybe because I’ve had this new real realization that my parents aren’t going to be around forever. Or maybe it’s because I’m in a city where I want to stay, so I have a sense of how long it takes to get back to Cambridge. I see my friend who have kids and have their parents close and I want that.
It’s weird. I don’t want to move east. I don’t want to live at home just because my family is there, but I feel jealous that my brother can just take the train to see them. A long time ago, when my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s was beginning to sink in and she was just starting to lose her sense of what wasn’t appropriate, she told me not to move too far away. My mom’s siblings has scattered and she was starting to feel it. “It makes it hard on everyone,” she said. At the time I thought it felt selfish and unfair, but now I’m starting to see some sense.