I’ve spent some time in the last few weeks traveling around the country visiting family and “framily” – friends who qualify as family, without the blood relation connection.
Some of the reasons I’ve had for going is to see the younger people; seeing my best-longest-term (not “oldest”) friend’s little boys, ages 6 and meeting the 3 year old; meeting my cousin Melissa’s youngest child & only daughter, 18 months, as well as re-connecting with her young sons and my first cousins; seeing one of my best friends from college and her children, who all call me Uncle; her elder boy Daniel is my Godson.
This has all been good. It’s been an important set of trips, each one a vacation from work and a needed break. They’ve all been a chance to reconnect and strengthen the connections with other people that I love.
I should have done some of this sooner.
I’m feeling the missed opportunities with my godson the most. He’s almost eighteen now – how did that happen?!? – and I’ve missed a few years of his progress. He’s now half a foot taller than I am. We reconnected this weekend, but I held back to let him show me who he is now, instead of expecting him to be the same person I saw last time I was physically with him. I’ve seen many an adult fail at this; it’s difficult to acknowledge how much a young person changes in such a short time. My dad was deployed from just before I was 13 to 15. Those are some of the years of greatest change. When my dad came back, it was an additional great source of tension between us that he expected me to have not changed from when he left; and I’d grown up. He treated me like the kid I was when he left, which chafed me. Daniel wanted to spend time with a friend more than me this last weekend, although he did want to introduce me to the friend. I understand that. He’s not the same guy that he was at 12 who was jealous of anyone who took my time away from him when he visited me. He’s certainly not the same four year old who was impatient for me to play trains with him every minute of my visit. I hope I was able to be more respectful of my godson’s space and personhood and that I didn’t hold back so much that he felt like I was aloof.
I need to remember to not take so long between important visits again. Life is too short to risk loosing the connections that matter the most.