Reading my dear best friend Texan in UAE's post got me thinking...
First I will quickly talk about one side of my family:
I had not been in contact with my biological father's family for years. Its not because I don't love them or anything like that... its just... life happened, and a distance came between us after my parents divorced. A big part was because my sisters and I lost contact with our father (its a whole other story). We have recently gotten in contact with our family again Alhamdulillah and its amazing to see my cousins all grown up, going to college, having careers, marriage, children etc... I always remember my cousins from the last time I saw them, the pre-teen years. The same with my aunts I have gotten into contact with. MashaAllah, they are still beautiful and just amazing to think that they are grandparents and all... its bean a REALLY long time we were not in contact.
Living far away from family is not easy. You get used to it.. Alhamdulillah for technology that it is easy to keep in touch. But every time you get to visit them you get that feeling of how hard it is to be away from them all over again when it is time to part.
Its not just the time spent apart that is the hardest part. Its all the changes. The younger ones grow up so fast. Months can make a difference. I get to see pictures and get to video chat--but its still different to finally see the changes in person. My nieces and nephew were all under 10 years old when I moved away.
They have grown so much these last 5 years MashaAllah! It makes me sad that I am not there to watch them grow, to see the interests they take up, to help them with homework, to be their auntie. I mean, I will always be their auntie, but its not a hands-on role since we are so far apart. I can't wait to see them inshallah this summer. Alhamdulillah that I get to visit them though. Some people cannot visit their family who are overseas often so I am very grateful for that Alhamdulillah.
Now the other hard part--the hardest part--is seeing the older family members getting older-- seeing my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents getting older.
The last time I saw my mother was in Japan the year before. I was shocked to realize her age... for some reason I had just never thought of her age. of course she is still just as beautiful MashaAllah, just older. And not seeing her for one year makes a big difference, not to mention if I don't see her for longer than that. When we said our goodbyes at the airport in Japan I felt really sad and thought about how I am always going to keep seeing her getting older.
The people I am going to talk about now are my step-family. I'm not going to use the term "step" here for them... they are my family.
The same with the last time I saw my father I was thinking how he looked older. He is a sushi chef and when one day talking to him about possibly coming to Dubai to open a sushi bar, he told me that he is probably only going to work another 10 years or so and then it will be time to retire... and it just hit me too about how he is getting older. The same with seeing my aunts and uncles.
The biggest one was my grandfather. He had fallen off of a ladder and hurt his back really bad. He had to have surgery but he was in immense pain for over a year. When I saw him a year and a half after he had fallen, it was shocking to see how much he had aged in just a year and a half. He was such an active man, and was such a handyman that he was always building and repairing things in the home. To be so hurt and so immobile had caused him to age so much :( Alhamdulillah they finally found a medicine that helps his pain so he is doing better, but he will never regain the strength he had back then.
I am now sitting in tears writing this... I am so sad that I am not there as my parents and grandparents are getting older and older.
I do not regret one bit that I married my husband and moved to UAE. This is my home, and my husband is who I want to be with for the rest of my life. Its just hard to be oceans apart from my family.