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Always Family

Last weekend, my two sisters-in-law, one nephew, one niece, one nephew-in-law, and two great nieces came for a visit. They wanted to visit my mother-in-law, who is in the memory care unit of a local nursing home. Catching up with our branch of the tree was on the agenda, too, of course.

Both of my hubby's sisters moved far from home when they left for college, and they continued to move further away as the years went by. Career opportunities, better schools, and a better life were probably all factors in their decisions.

I've been so fortunate that my own sister and I have lived fairly close together our entire lives. I did move to a large city a couple hours from home right after I graduated from college, but it wasn't a good fit. The day my sister showed up at my apartment and asked me to move back home, broke my heart. After less than two years away, I moved back to the area where family was only few minutes away.

Actually, several things conspired to bring me home, but my sister's plea was foremost. While we fought like crazy as kids, we have been very close as adults. Much of our relationship is due to our proximity.

My hubby and his sisters have lived far apart for well over forty years. As I watched them catch up and learn new things about each other, I could see their sibling love. However, they don't enjoy the same bond as my sister and me. I think that's because they don't have the opportunity to get together and do things like harvesting and canning pears, making repairs on each other's homes and cars, running into one another at the grocery store, and getting together for cake and ice cream on birthdays.

This past weekend was the first time I met my great nieces, the elder of whom is five. Both girls are delightful and cute as buttons. I have several others on my hubby's side who I haven't met because we simply don't see each other. No school plays, dance recitals, or ball games. I can't help but think that something is lost.

We enjoyed our three days together. From telling funny childhood stories to looking at old pictures, the family time was magical. Watching them drive away to go home happened too soon. I was sad to see them go, and I hope to see them again soon. One thing is certain though - Jim and his sisters are always family, and it shows when they're together.

I hope we don't wait so long to see each other again. Family is precious.

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