Yesterday I had the immense pleasure of being able to spend about an hour and a half on FaceTime with Mom and Dad, which is among the best ways to communicate with home because it recreates the feeling of being home more than anything else. If you intentionally take on tunnel vision and ignore all your surroundings besides the computer screen, and pretend you have lost the ability to choose which direction you are looking, it’s almost like being there. I think that I mentally built an image of the family room around mom’s blue chair, which I ended up facing for the majority of the time.
I was struck by one of the things that Mom said when we were saying our goodnights, and I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Normally, when somebody you love says something heartfelt, it’s first instinct to reciprocate, right? “I love you” and “I miss you” and “I wish you were here” are all closely followed with an agreement. “Me, too! I love you, too. I miss you too. I wish I could be there.” It’s natural, that’s just the way it works, to express the way we care about people. So as we were saying our I-love-yous and I-miss-yous, Mom said to me, “it’s different here without you,” and my first thought was to reply with the same. And my second thought was, “No, it’s not different here without you.” I realized I couldn’t say either of those things. The first is false and the second just sounds heartless. So I ended up just being pretty dumbfounded at this point in the conversation (Mom, if my inability to create a coherent reply here confused you, this is what was going through my head).
This isn’t necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s a weird thing that I just wanted to share with you. It’s funny for me that when I go home, I feel like home isn’t different at all. I mean, it’s strange when I leave in August and come back a few months later to find Halloween decorations up (this wasn’t here when I left!). But for me, home is pretty much the same way I remember it. For you guys however, I imagine that a missing family member would feel very very different.
The reason I can’t quite say that it’s different here without you is because, for me, “here” at UB has always been associated with separation from you guys. I mean, Mom and Dad helped me move in for a few hours, and you all were here for an afternoon the following weekend, but that little time is negligible compared to the months I have spent here. I am learning what it’s like to live away from the rest of the family. And everything about it is different.
So I guess I could say that it is different here without you. Not in the sense that your absence has changed the feeling if the place (like I’ve done to you) but that the whole feeling of the place is different and your absence is a big part of that.
I don’t mean to say that I don’t miss you (although this whole post sounds somewhat heartless) because I most certainly do! I think that what I’m to do is convey the total different-ness of the whole experience… I am far more adaptable than I ever would have expected. I’m learning a lot about that.
I love you guys LOADS and I hope you have fun tonight! (I doubt that I myself will be doing anything much, as I have given up on the holiday this year… but a lot of kids here still dress up and such, so don’t worry.)