Holidays were my favorite part of being a TCK because they were often celebrated uniquely. We spent Christmases in the dry heat of Nairobi, Kenya, Eid with our Bangladeshi community from Jakarta, Indonesia to Charlotte, North Carolina, birthdays renewed on breathtaking islands, riding elephants, flying in the air or surfing in the ocean…but always, always, my family was together.
Not this year, though.
This is my first year of being an “official adult” which means yet another transition. I’m used to them by now, but transitions still irk me. Not always, mostly on days like today, Mother’s Day 2018, when I am 470 miles away from my family. This is, of course, the way life evolves. But it doesn’t make the pain of missing people lessen by one percent.
This morning I FaceTimed my mom so I could see her face and pretend I was home. She was being pampered by my dad – banana-apple pancakes and watermelon juice, bright flowers, eating breakfast on our gorgeous patio at home in Charlotte. I put on a big smile and partook in festivities from this great distance, but internally, it utterly devastated me to not be there, making breakfast for her myself, gifting her a bouquet with purple flowers, enjoying heart-to-hearts with the sun beaming around us. My dad does a wonderful job, don’t get me wrong; regardless, it hurt not to be there.
That being said, Mom and I did get a chance to celebrate an early Mother’s Day a few weekends back when she came to visit me in Baltimore. Even though we had that awesome girl’s weekend together, it’s not the same as being there in person for the people you love.
I can’t speak for all TCKs, but for me, missing people is triggering as hell. It zaps me back into this uncomfortable limbo where I have to deal with the wounds Goodbyes inflict, while simultaneously reminiscing on warm memories. The juxtaposition of those two things is exhausting. And yet…glass half-full: “how lucky we are to have so many people to love and miss,” right?
While that’s absolutely true, sometimes I get tired of looking at things with optimism. I think it’s okay for people to just feel how they feel and not be pressured to feel anything other than whatever emotion holds them hostage in that moment. We need to normalize the release of emotions, validate them and let people thaw out in their own time. If my job (that I adore) has taught me anything, it’s to let the pressure gauge release slowly. It’s healthy, actually.
See, I miss my family every day, and that’s okay. I am still a high-functioning adult with responsibilities, job security, building a network, being social, trying to do my best on a daily basis. And because of that, I get to be tired and upset on days like this because it’s normal to not be okay one hundred percent of the time. In a perfect world, we would have the technology to beam across space in mere seconds so we could be back with our loved ones, then travel home to reality all in the same day. But we’re not there yet. So instead, we are responsible for facing and digesting our emotions. Pushing them down and ignoring them is not the answer. Feel what you feel so you can move forward.
I wanted to share my normal with you all, so if you ever doubt yourself, you have proof that what you feel is valid. Miss your family, miss your friends, miss your pets, miss your Life The Way It Was Before. When you do that, when you truly let yourself feel the intensity of your emotions, you will reach a peak, and then you’ll be able to descend into Acceptance. Liam wrote a post earlier this year on The Five Stages of Grief as Told by Moving, and I agree with him 100%. Moving = missing, and missing people is natural. So be natural, be normal. We are human, after all.