I started answering one of those questions months ago (from Dani from Faster Than Forever) who asked: "How did your family/loved ones take the news?" (that I was moving to the other side of the world)
But, that post sat in draft unfinished. Until I read Audrey's post "Get Out of There" because it got me thinking about our life choices about where we live and who we live life with.
When I announced that I was moving from Texas to Australia, I received varying degrees of support from loved ones. Most of the family was less than thrilled.
My mother cried and cried and didn't really know what to say except "please don't go." This was the one and only time in my life that my always supportive father told me that I was disappointing him, and he meant it. The conversation included me trying to be strong through tears streaming down my face, and I was collapsing inside.
My brother suggested that he and I go for a walk around his neighborhood.
Back story: My brother met his wife when he was 18, got engaged at 20, and married at 21. He worked at a big international accounting firm in a big city for a few years...then moved back to raise a family in College Station, Texas (a town of about 100,000). He has 3 glorious children. The family is close. Top priority. Their social activities revolve around school, church, and extra-curricular activities. He and my sister-in-law have been married for 25+ years, and their relationship is an inspiration. Their relationships with their children is a beautiful thing to witness. Nobody, no one, no family is perfect. They are the first to admit this. But, they are as close to perfect as a collective whole as I've personally witnessed, and I am in awe of them.
So, when we took a walk around the neighborhood...I mentioned something about him being the "golden child" and the one that always made our parents proud and was never a disappointment. He discussed that his life made him happy and fulfilled...but, he said he knew that if I led the life he had, I'd have been bored. He said that he knew we were different. The things that excited me or fueled my zest for life weren't necessarily his. But, that there was nothing wrong with that. There was nothing wrong with me wanting to take risks. There was nothing wrong with me wanting to live in a different country. Sure, I'd be missed, terribly, but I needed to live my life in a way that would be fulfilling and make me happy. And, I was always welcome to come home.
Tears are falling as I remember this conversation from over 8 years ago.
In an ideal world, my loved ones wish that I lived closer. But, it's the words of my brother, knowing that he "got me" that still fill my heart.
Eventually, other family members have come around. No one likes that I live so far away. Heck, I don't like that I live so far away from them. Sometimes, I think that me living so far from home actually encourages communication with some family members. You know, the ones we take for granted that live close, yet we still don't see often? I hear from some aunts and cousins more than I did when I lived in Texas. Others, I don't hear from as much. But, we all have to make an effort to maintain connections and relationships, regardless of distance.
The support from my brother, his calm and wisdom, will always be something that I cherish. We don't talk much. We don't have to. He knows I am filled with imperfections and flaws, but I know he loves me unconditionally. I do not take this for granted.
|My mom says this is her favorite picture of us, so I recycle it every now and then.|
Have you received wise words from a loved one at an important time in your life? I encourage you to reflect on them and share them (if you feel moved to do so).