Two years ago this weekend I was in Omaha, Nebraska with my family for my oldest brother’s wedding. It was absolutely the happiest weekend my family has ever spent together, and just the overall best.
A year ago today, my Dad’s birthday, I left Cincinnati in the morning for Louisville. I called my oldest brother in the car and talked to him for an hour until I got to Bellarmine where I was surprising my dad at work. He and I went to lunch and spent the afternoon together, and my mom changed their dinner reservations for two to a reservation for three. After dinner I went home and spent a few hours on the couch with the cat and then drove back to Cincinnati. It was the beginning of the cold, and I was wearing a new winter coat for the first time. When I got to Cincinnati, I met my friends down the street in the basement where we spent so many of our nights. The next day, my roommates and I ran a 5k for Cystic Fibrosis together (like, actually together, I think we even held hands to cross the finish line). The next day I’m sure I woke up late, put on fall-appropriate clothes and did some homework or paper that was due the next morning and then spent the rest of the day lounging around with my roommates.
This morning I woke up in Georgetown, Guyana and walked to the National Park to run 3.1 miles in honor of the 5k being run in Cincinnati. I won’t go to lunch with my dad (or eat German Chocolate cake in the dining room after dinner), I didn’t wake up in a hotel room in Omaha to my brothers sharing a bed, I won’t eat corn chowder out of the best bread bowls you can imagine at my brother’s wedding later tonight, and I won’t spend the night singing along to songs and dancing with my best friends at SDB. And no, I’m not wearing any sort of fall-ish clothing, and I’m sweating more than I’ve ever sweated in October in my life. Nothing about this weekend is the same as it has been the past two years, or even the past 20 years.
Everything is different, and I’m figuring out how to let it be different. I knew the holidays and special occasions would be the hardest days for me to be away from my family and loved ones, but that “preparation” doesn’t really stop it from happening. I’m sad to miss my Dad’s birthday, I’m sad to not be anywhere near my mom, brothers and sister-in-law, and I’m sad to not be running with Aidan and Heidi.
But I figure with the past two years giving such a good reputation to this weekend, I’ve got to do something worth a memory for it in 2014. So today I ran my 3.1 miles for Cystic Fibrosis, I’m going swimming with the boys from the orphanage, and then (dot dot dot) going to watch 30 boys at the orphanage while the staff does a training for a few hours. Don’t worry, I’m buying a candy bar to have waiting for me at home after all of that.