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Monday, January 7, 2013

Family Ties

In many ways, my life has changed dramatically over the past year and a half.  Losing 127 pounds can really alter a person, and I don't mean just physically.  

I am not the same person I was the morning of August 5, 2011 as the medical personnel at Rex Hospital wheeled me into surgery.  I am different--and I'm glad I'm different.  I think I'm constantly changing, evolving, embracing the change that keeps coming my way.

I don't know if it's the new year or the decision to move back to New York, but for some reason, I've been waxing nostalgic lately.  I have been thinking about relationships and how they change.  I have a few classmates from high school who married right out of high school--and are still married after 35+ years! I'm not sure how they've done it.  I am nowhere near the same person I was in high school.  I would hope that you aren't either!  So how do people do it?  I reflect on my marriage which lasted just 8 years, and I know he and I definitely wouldn't be together today, even if he had changed dramatically.

I have a friend who's been a friend since 4th grade.  Fourth grade!  We don't see each other often--maybe just once a year (although I hope that will change now that I'm moving north) but even at that infrequency, I know that she's someone on whom I can count--and I would do anything for her.  I have other friends that have stayed friends for 20+ years, while others have popped in and out of my life without leaving so much as a forwarding address.  Why do people come and go?  Are they there for a little while to teach us something?  For us to teach them?  I remember Pat, Michelle, Michele and Nancy, Nancy and Judy.  And Ginny.  They were there--and now they aren't.  I haven't heard from these women in 30 years...and yet I thought at the time that we were close!  And I guess we were.  I shouldn't dismiss the friendship because the years have separated us.  We were there for each other when we needed each other--and I guess that's all that matters.

In my life, friends have come and go.  But family?  Family is there for you no matter what.  Remembering that makes going back to New York an easy decision.  My mom needs me now, and I need her.  Friends my age are losing their parents.  Parents are falling and getting injured or having strokes.  Parents are going into nursing homes or hospitals or rehab centers.  Parents are becoming the children as the roles of caregiver/care "taker" are reversed.  I am grateful that my mother is in pretty good health right now.  But at nearly 82, I'm not going to take that for granted.  I don't think anyone should!

If you're lucky enough to have your parents, hug them.  Tell them you love them.  Spend the day with them.  Take time out of your busy life to say "thank you".  "Thank you for raising me, for loving me, for giving me life."  Do it now...while you can.

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