Boardingby Brie Stimson August 27, 2018
In the last month I’ve been on two separate trips to visit family at opposite ends of the country. As I’ve mentioned before, my brother moved to Washington, D.C. last year and my parents still live in Spokane, Washington (It’s confusing because it’s two Washingtons).
I flew out to D.C. for three days before the Fourth of July to see my brother, his wife and my 18-month-old niece who breaks my heart every time she points to me and calls me “Anbi!” (baby translation: Aunt Brie). Just a few weeks later, I was flying out to see the rest of my clan in Spokane for four days. I spent time with my parents and my grandma and just happened across two of my aunts, my great aunt and uncle and two of my cousins.
I think the only way my core family could have dispersed more across the United States is if my parents moved to Alaska or if I moved to Hawaii – which I’m open to. (I could do a research project on Jewish Hawaii, Mark?)
In fact, after my brother and I graduated from high school we fanned out across the world for a while. I remember when I was in studying abroad in China he was in the Middle East in the Navy and the next semester when I studied in the Middle East he went to Asia. Eventually we all returned to the U.S., but I’m sure we’ll rove about again.
This is such a common 21st century story. Families scatter around the country and often around the world. Even our contributors and columnists inhabit the likes of Israel, Canada and New Mexico, among others. Technology (plane travel, etc.) and the enticement of opportunity in far off cities has made moving away easier than ever, which means we’re not generally living two doors down from our parents anymore.
That’s what makes the holidays so important in my opinion. It’s a marker in the year that tells us to return home and renew our love for those in our lives. Of course, we can’t always (the news doesn’t stop because it’s a holiday, and I’ve spent more than one behind a desk), but it is a reminder that those whom we love won’t be around forever, and if you can you should buy that ticket home to see Grandpa, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Sis, Bro and even Uncle Len and Aunt Barbara.
Holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have a special meaning on their own. If, for some reason, you can’t be with your family and friends, it’s comforting to be able to go to a service or dinner and be embraced by a community of people who will take you in, but if you can, I suggest making the trip.
Years later, when we look back on the memories of High Holidays of yesteryear it won’t likely be the honey cake or the blowing of the shofar we remember, it will be who was sitting beside us, laughing with us, holding our hand and giving us a hug for the New Year.
Holidays are the time of year more than any other when you can (and should) go home again.