I regularly receive the kindest, most thoughtful of emails here...from friends and from strangers alike. I've met people in far flung places that I've managed to stay friends with, and stumbled upon new friendships simply via email exchanges and blog comments. I've reconnected with old friends, and tripped over new affections for all of the above but one of the kindest, sweetest, trip-me-gently emails came last week.
My cousin, Colleen, long a favorite friend of mine, sent me a message as heart warming as pulling into the driveway after a long, tiring trip home. She drops by The Zoey Blog regularly and finds faith and fun in between each and every post. She oh-so gently reminded me that I don't see the people I love nearly enough. We grow up, and we grow distant, and strangely enough it's that very act of growing up that surely would endear us to one another more than ever. After all, we are finally the people we were supposed to become, and often enough, or should I say fortunately enough, in my family, those people are pretty incredible. They would make their grandparents proud, and certainly each other.
When I was young, Colleen was older, not much, but enough to find little in common with. She was in college when I was in high school. She was married when I was still botching perfectly good relationships. We were connected and yet out of touch. As we grew, that changed, and although it's impossible for any age gap to narrow, the maturity one did, and we found ourselves as close to peers as we might. My brother and Colleen got close, they lived together and laughed together and while I wandered around my confusing post-secondary world...Kansas City, Peterborough, Oshawa, Ann Arbor...Brad and Colleen cultivated a friendship that I observed from a distance, first from a distant college campus, and then from a distant continent or coast. Brad was becoming part of his family's story...I was just becoming one. I missed out on a lot.
These days I find comfort in the fact that I am as close to being the person I was meant to be as I've ever been, but I lose heart over the distance that's grown between myself and the people I should hope to make most proud of me and my life, just as they might hope to find such similar reverence in my eyes. My family is full of incredible people, as most are, I'm sure. My family is something I am proud of, and yet something I've drifted away from, as most do. Colleen's email reminded me how much stored up affection I have for those people, and just how much it means to each of us to harvest all those seeds that were planted so long ago. I'm sure it bothers each one of us to watch what once were incredibly close relationships fall away, but it took a two paragraph email from one of my most favorite ones to remind me how easy it is to pull us all back together. I think my new year will be centered around plowing over what's been left fallow, and planting new seeds that Zoey, June and I can harvest for the rest of our lives. 'Tis the season for timely reminders it seems, and swelling hearts and eyes. It's been a long time since my grandparents have had the blessing of watching their grandchildren grow, but they'd be proud of what they've become. Floyd and Pearl can be boastful ghosts for certain.
Thanks for the note Colleen. I miss you too.