I've spent most of my adult life rather far from "home." Sometimes this is a trial. Sometimes it is not. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it seems like more of a trial. We nearly always invite the missionaries, which I love, but this will be one year out of many, many, that I have done the whole meal myself. This is no small feat. More than once between now and Christmas my mom or sister will call to tell me what they are doing together (they live about a mile apart)--baking pies or rolls, making crafts, going to lunch--you know, the normal mom and daughter stuff. Sometimes it makes me so sad I can hardly stand it. Besides the emotional stuff there are the fringe benefits of living close to family: Cousins for the boys. The occasional night out because there are grandparents to babysit. Vacations somewhere besides Utah.
There are huge blessings to this of course. I've learned to be enormously self reliant. I have friends in their 40's and even 50's who have never hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. The elders always have a home-away-from-home here. Always. The boys appreciate visits from or to grandma and grandpa (either) so much because it is really so rare and special that it happens. I am mostly absent for any drama that occurs--inevitable in even the best families. I also am self-aware enough to know that my sister and I really do get along best when our face-to-face friendship is in measured doses and our phone friendship is frequent. My friendships outside my family have become very deep because I have so desperately needed them.
Mostly I've come to understand that "home" is really where my kiddos are. This is the first year coming home from summer vacation (Utah, of course), that I really felt for the first time that I wasn't leaving home again, but coming home. That feeling grows as the kids grow.
I can't pretend that I don't wish there was another woman around to share my Thanksgiving baking and my Christmas music with, but I am grateful for all the lessons I've learned along the way from adopted moms and sisters the world over. My life is truly richer for all of these women whom I never would have found if I hadn't left "home."