Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

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Five and a half years. That’s how long we’ve been out here, in graduate school.
Thousands of miles away from family, our kids hardly even know their relatives. The last time we saw them was 2 1/2 years ago, when Ethan was 4 and Caleb was 3.

In some ways, I love being far away from my family. There are lots of things, of a stressful nature happening constantly. And it’s good to be distanced from it. But at other times I’m sad about it.

Like when I think of my littlest sister, who I use to dream of driving around to the mall with her friends as she got older, and us dying our hair together and maybe even me being her confidante. She was only 10 when we moved away, and she’s growing up without me around. Her most crucial years and I’m missing them.

Or like when I think of my mom, who has always been my good friend and who I’ve only grown closer to and developed more respect for as I’ve become a mother myself. I wish she could see her grandkids whenever she wanted.

Or like when I think of my littlest brother. I hear he’s six foot two now. But I wouldn’t let that go to his head of course. He’s still my little brother.

For as much as I love my family, and want my children to be near them and really know them, I don’t have any desire to move back to where they are right now. And it doesn’t all revolve around family issues. The culture in Utah is… well, when you’re a Mormon who has lived most of your life in Utah, it’s easy to confuse the culture and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been so refreshing to separate the culture from the gospel and gain a better perspective of the simplicity of the Church’s teachings. I really don’t want my kids to grow up in Utah for that reason among others. I want them to have more clarity than I did. To not waver in their testimonies of the gospel because of the unkindness or poor examples of members they will inevitably meet who don’t fully live what they claim to believe in. Of course this happens in all religions. And could happen even outside of Utah, but it’s a worry for me all the same.

But I don’t even know when Hubby will graduate or where we’ll move.

We started out on the same page, neither of us having any desire to go back to Utah. But absence has made his heart grow fonder. And he would like to live near his family again. So I’ve been pondering my feelings since I figure the possibility of moving to Utah may come into play in the near future. He’s been told he’ll graduate this year. Yet there is still no end in sight…