Today is my nephew's birthday. So, allow me to take a moment to say, Happy Birthday, Timmy! Yea! We love you and miss you very much!
As my other nephew, his brother, said in a text to me, hard to believe Timmy is 15. Gosh, I still remember when he was a little kid. And coming at me with a steak knife on a night I was babysitting him and he got mad at me. (Oh, I can laugh about that now, but it freaked me out then!)
It's hard to believe that everybody is growing up so fast. It's been ages since I've seen so many people in my family. I feel bad on missing out on all the birthdays and everything. (One of my other nephews is getting married next month. I don't know yet if we'll be going to his wedding.) My nieces and nephews are all growing up, getting married, welcoming babies, etc., and I'm not there to see any of it. Sigh.
We used to be a REALLY close family. But, like one of my sisters keeps saying, it's like we're all spread out now. It used to be we were ALL in one state: California. Now we're in California, Oregon, and Illinois. (Pretty soon, we'll be adding Maine to that list!) I think that no matter where we all live, California will be "home." I have often thought of moving back to California (and I even TRIED to make that happen, after the divorce), but even if I don't ever return to the Golden State, I think it will always be "home" in some way or another. At least for me, anyway. I often like to say I left my heart in California. I will definitely always be a California girl at heart!
Oregon has been a big adjustment. As of May 11th of this year, we have been in Oregon for 4 years. (Or is it 5???) Eugene has been VERY good for the children. They receive satisfactory medical care and Jennifer is a student at a GREAT school with GREAT people. Eugene has been good for me in that I have been able to receive an ASL interpreter at my appointments when I never had that available in California. And...that's about it, really. I have been trying to make something of myself here in Eugene, or Oregon, but that has not happened yet. Or try to belong to something, anyway. I just don't feel like I belong. The church affiliation has not worked out well. Jen isn't fond of the church anymore and I've grown weary of attending without an interpreter to let me know what is being said. I haven't had any luck in getting a job here, I haven't been able to find a group to be a part of and I've tried to make friends to have some kind of social life with but that hasn't worked out, either.
Well, hopefully, I can become part of something in which I would feel like I "belong" here or in which I feel like I'm "needed" here. It's hard and, after 4 years, I still feel like a "stranger in a strange land." I left all those friends and connections and networks behind in California. Maybe I just need more time to build that up here in Oregon? Four more years!
But I think no matter where we all are, what state we all live in, the family connection is still there. Maybe not as strong as it used to be, but I think it still exists in some way and some form.