After a month back home, I have needed a few weeks to get readjusted into life back in Australia – Happy Belated New Year! I had the best time with family, was spoiled with love and attention, and was reminded of how good it feels to be with people who know you inside & out.
Since immigrating to Australia, and even now that my spousal 820 visa has been approved, I have missed home. At first, it was the things you laugh at (because you don’t want to burden budding new friendships), like Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, fashion, peanut butter M&M’s, Amazon Prime, Penn Station East Coast Subs, Hulu – the list goes on and on! More recently I would say, I have deeply, passionately missed everything, and everyone about “home”.
In many ways, I think this blog post will be a love letter of sorts to my family, who I now rarely see. For them to know how hard I try to soak all of them in – their smell, the way the squish a little when you hug them, their minds, and character. Honestly, it won’t be a read for everyone – my life is not very interesting – but maybe it might inspire you to look at your family differently. To remember to tell them what you admire about them, cherish about your time together, and live every opportunity to have fun with them.
I’ve always known my parents were special. My Mom’s story is quite remarkable. She has fought so hard to get where she is today. I think millennials, because our parents worked so that we could have better lives, often forget about the effort and sacrifices they endured for us. I think we sometimes forget to listen and empathize with the unspoken heros in our own families.
One of my favourite things about my Mom, which I have only really come to respect and cherish in the last few years, is the way she thinks, and how she responds to conflict in her life. I think I used to be critical of the occasional emotional outbursts my Mom could have. In reality, I forget we are all imperfect. My Mom really shines like the calm after the storm. Her ability to resolve her internal conflict rationally and calmly after an outburst is unlike anyone I’ve ever met, esp in the workplace. Her emotions can be a mix of gloom or anger, but a smile and self-assurance is never really that far away. It is this ability to pull her self back up that I admire most, and aspire to be like. I love her so deeply, she has been there to console me through every misstep in my life, and will always be my best friend.
My Dad is a harder one to define. He’s an insanely brilliant man, with adapted people skills. He is great at ‘socializing’ and has never lacked self-confidence. His only real challenge – most of the time – is that his mind is often busy turning over his day/interactions/knowledge in order to decrypt his real-life puzzles. It is in his preoccupation to solve things, that he forgets/ignores to connect emotionally at times. He’s actually the reason I went home in the first place – he was recovering from a surgery (removal of cancerous cells) – thinking he would need help around the house and company for his ‘agile mind’. However, what I returned home to was still the same energizer bunny I had left. My Dad’s mind and just sheer will to have the energy to get stuff done is what makes me awestruck when I look at him. We’ve definitely connected more over the years, and even when he is mad at me/giving me a hard time, he is quite motivated to let it all go so he can get back to hanging out with his ‘little girl’. When I look at my husband, I see some of my Dad’s qualities in him, which helps keep my ‘Papa’ close.
If you were to meet my brother and in a bar, one right after the other, I’m not sure you would know we were related. We’re not really anything alike in the ways that tick boxes on a resume, but we are alike in all the ways that really matter. Aaron is the extraverted son of the family, charismatic, clever, and always ready with some joke (something he got from Dad, but his repertoire is much better). We are both huge scifi nerds, still love playing The Legend of Zelda together (circa 1998, Ocarina of Time), laugh at the same jokes, deep thinkers, and enjoy collaborating across spotify (Aaron’s idea). Until recently, I don’t think I really understood how emotional and private my brother was. He always seemed so charismatic and talkative, that I thought he was just as he seemed. I think that is one of the things that gives me a little twinkle in my eye when I think about him. I love that just when you think you might know what he’s thinking, there is something more there if you are patient enough for him to tell/show you.
Honestly, this is my crazy nuts family – but they’re my family – and I love them!!! My trip home involved lots of time shopping with my Mom (Target, Macy’s, TJ Maxx, Burlington – you name it!), bonfires & beers with my Dad (The Mail Pouch Saloon has awesome Prime Rib!), ugly sweater movie runs with my Brother, and of course Christmas Cookie madness with my niece Alayna (personality still in development).
Here are some of my favourite photos from my time at home. Although I had a bit of work going on with a new bar on the Mandurah Foreshore (Bar Therapy), I also had plenty of time to just soak all of it in! Like my niece playing vet with my Mom and I (My mom did the charting: baby girl cow, 6 years old, left leg is hurting, and I did the bandaging with a bit of toilet paper!). I would say that I didn’t miss Isaac too much because we talked daily, but maybe the slightly more honest answer would be to say that I was having so much fun!