I got to see my sister this past weekend. We are lucky if we see each other twice a year. She lives a few states away and though it’s not too far to drive, it’s really almost impossible to drive that far in one day by yourself, without someone to share the driving load or at least help to keep you awake along the way. Flying is quicker, but about 75,000 times more expensive. And I hate flying. Plus it’s close enough that they never give you a real plane to fly in, but one of those where someone goes out front with a rubber band to get the propeller to start and heavy people have to sit on opposite sides of the plane or else. This is really, really not a way either of us likes to go to see each other, and so the driving.
I just haven’t had the time off or the money or energy to do it this year. Every year I’d take my son and we’d drive halfway and stay overnight in a hotel. I had accumulated a lot of frequent-stay points with various hotel chains and could use those to pay for the room. As we don’t eat fast food, I’d pack a cooler with food and we’d eat that on the road, and then go to a real restaurant for dinner. Or go to a grocery store and bring back stuff we could make in our hotel kitchen, while watching cartoon network or whatever. But it is long, a very long trip, and often we go in nicer weather which means miles of construction, unexpected detours, and both of us getting tired of sitting after hours and hours in the car. I remember a particularly horrible year when he was still a baby and would wake up every time I had to stop and pay a toll – which, when you’re driving through the greater Chicago area is like once every other mile practically – and he’d start screaming. So yeah, it’s tough. And now that I’m out of hotel points and most of my days off go towards school closures or days he won’t be at school – planned and unplanned (snow days, sick days), driving there just wasn’t happening. So she came here, but not for very long. She has obligations too, and it’s expensive for her as well, and the whole thing. But she had someone to share the driving load with this time so that made it better. I don’t think she’s been here since early last summer when Mom took too many conflicting meds and went crazy, so this was a much better trip and her typical whirlwind visit. We had a great time, honestly. But man, it was exhausting. And that’s ok. Living life hard, making it my bitch.
After she left, my Mom and I both planned to try to get together more ourselves. She’s a homebody and I have little time to go over there, so we just don’t get together as often as we’d like. But she’s going to try to come trick-or-treating with me and my son this Saturday, which is good news.
Seeing family and people you are close with is important. I’m trying to put forth more effort into this. It makes me feel more like I am getting more out of life when I do. I can always stay home by myself or with the kid and scrub the stove or vacuum or wash the windows, but it doesn’t make my heart feel full. A full heart is what makes the drudgery and bad parts of life able to be conquered.
So I am having a friend over for dinner Friday. And hope to have more friends over on the regular on Fridays. I would like this to be a thing, and I am going to work hard to try to make it happen. You have to work to make these things happen unless you happen to live next door to many of your friends and family, and I don’t. I’m working. It’s important. It makes life better.