After thirteen years on the other end of the country, it’s sometimes strange being so close to home again. There are small and inisgnificant aspects, like the fact that my mom tells me about sales at stores I can actually go to, and that we discuss local news stories on the same channels and in the same newspapers. There’s also the disorientation that comes when I realize that I’m living in the same general area where I spent so much of my early life, but not in the same city; my hometown is thirty miles away, and it still feels like a bit of a road trip to visit it.
The thing that’s hardest to get used to, though, is the fact that family crises have suddenly become much less abstract and much closer to my everyday exisitance. When a close relative is sick or has a problem, I’m expected — not just by my family, but by my own conscience — to be there and offer help when I can. It’s inconvenient and unpleasant, but it has to be done. That’s how families work; I know that if I ever have issues myself or with my own parents, my extended family will help me out as well.
Right now, it’s an uncle who had a stroke last week and clearly can’t take care of himself, but seems determined to do so anyway. It’s an issue that’s going to make my parents’ lives miserable for weeks and months to come. My uncle’s illness and my mom’s new computer have taken up a lot of my time over the past two weeks. But I guess it’s an investment; my turn for help might be next.
It was a lot easier being 3000 miles away, to be sure. All in all, though, I’m still glad to be home. And at least I’m far enough away that I’m not usually the first one called in a crisis.