I will be back in NYC by the time this is read. We are preparing our bags on a breezy and sunny morning about a hundred kilometers south of Rome. My inspiration this morning is the slightly choppy sea right in front of my in-laws’ house. They have already kidnapped my son to spend every minute of the last day we are here in Italy with him. It is always a melancholy dawn – the day before our departure. It seems that just as they get used to enjoying all his quirks and pouts and giggles we whisk him away again until the next vacation. Yesterday, we were just a few miles away at my parent’s house where my sister and her family are staying. We were celebrating my niece’s birthday and my son running around the garden like crazy, chasing and being chased by the other kids and his cousins. There the mood was festive, but in an end of the summer kind of way. The time we spend here always feels like the time I spent cramming for tests and exams at school – desperately trying to get through everything you did not get to do during the rest of the year.
We always wish we had more time or that we could find a way to make more time. The reality of parenthood is that you hardly have time for your wife and kids let alone for your siblings and parents and relatives especially when they live so far away. Even in the moments we are together you try as much as possible to make it just lie any other day for the kids, but inevitably you end up having to explain to them what it means to get on an airplane or train or take a long car ride leaving behind grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (this must be done each time the child repeats the question: “Why?”).
Today you can “see” each other more often thanks to technology, but watching my son interact with his cousins in person is priceless. Of course, we will come home and boot up the computer and call everyone on Skype and exchange all the pictures we took and the fun moments we had and then we will have to dive back into the daily grind until the next holiday or vacation.
Despite the stress that it can certainly cause, I always envy those who live fairly close together. The visits are never “use it or lose it” time where you feel guilty if you miss even an hour together knowing that it will be another year probably before you see each other again. Then again I live in New York and have not been to the Empire State Building since I was a little boy just because I think, “It’s right there so I can go whenever I want.” So I might end up doing the same if I lived in the same city as my sister or my parents or in-laws.
These are some of my random thoughts as I start to gather our things for tomorrow’s trip back to New York. In the good and the bad of having to “schedule” time with the relatives I have had a great few weeks of fun and relaxation with my wife and son and “the folks”. I can’t complain. And now back to my regular programming.