In the morning, the family and I will get in the car to begin the long journey to Western Washington for Christmas. It is a journey both of distance and of time. That is true not only in the most obvious sense of the hours spent in the car and the distance traveled. It is true on a number of other levels as well.
This will be our first visit back as a family in more than half a decade. In some ways, it seems as if no time at all has passed. In other ways, it seems as if a lifetime has gone by since I last saw some of my family.
Cousins and nephews and nieces who were children or teenagers when last I saw them are now adults, some of them with children of their own. Where did the years go?
To be honest, I'm a little nervous about the trip, simply because it has been so long. It should be a little easier because I have seen an aunt and an uncle, been reintroduced to them in a sense, in recent months. But because so much time has passed, I admit to feeling a little like a stranger in a strange land, unsure of how to act, how to fit in.
Still, I am looking forward to the trip. My therapist calls it a chance to reconnect, to reclaim my roots, something I may have unknowingly spent years running from, just as I was running from the demons of my past.
For years, I was never sure I belonged anywhere. I never seemed to fit. Now I know I don't have to. I just have to be me and let people take me as they will.
I'm sure some of the conversations will slip into familiar topics, but I hope we learn a little something about each other that maybe we didn't know before. Regardless of how it unfolds, I am looking forward to the journey back to my childhood home. Simply put, it's time.