First vacation since entering the workforce in November of 2012? Absolute luxury. Spent a week in central Oregon with my mom's side of the family biking, jogging, eating and playing Bananagrams. Like, a lot. It was a really special time in light of my big move coming up in a couple of weeks.
As our family has really begun to show signs of aging in the past five years or so, the emotional stakes are increasing exponentially. When my cousin and I played and sang a send-off song for our great aunts and great uncle, we were surprised to find ourselves choked up and nearly unable to finish the final stanza. Although we sang, "until we meet again," our power to control whether we would actually see them in the near future, or if God decided to "take them home" before then, was totally out of our control.
Time is funny. Think about siblings... You spend practically all your time together growing up. Then marriage and kids hit and it gets tougher to get together. Then old age hits and due to disability it's a downright struggle to meet, especially when living across states. I got so sad watching my grandpa hug his lil' bro goodbye. I mean, he really doesn't and can't know if he'll ever see him again.
Enough sadness, though. What was really sweet this vacation was to see how all the younger (as in under 70 years of age) people pitched in to serve the elders. It felt so Asian; it was awesome. We had a buffet-style dinner at my grandparents' unit every night, and they got the place of honor at the table with my great aunties and great uncle. Since my grandma is in a wheelchair, others in the family would volunteer to make her plate and bring it to her. One time I was re-heating lunch leftovers and my great-aunt said to me, "That's really nice that you do that for your grandma." But to me I was like, "What?" I guess because we've been doing it for so long that it just feels natural.
I also loved the way in which the young people (as in my generation people) were really demonstrating being adults. It was so refreshing! We got to cook a big family meal together of "street tacos" three ways (pork, chicken and beef) with corn, grilled vegetables and two kinds of fresh salsa. To see that the rest of the family truly enjoyed the food was definitely a surprise. And talking late into the night with my cousins I understood that they, too, are thinking about Grandma and Grandpa and the fact that we don't know for how much longer they'll be in our lives.
I was struck by something my oldest cousin said. She said more or less that she had expected Grandma and Grandpa to go years back. Everything beyond that as been "gravy," she said.
Wow. Instead of feeling entitled to more time with Grandma and Grandpa, and maintaining a mentality of never wanting to let them go, she sees it as just a gift--a pure gift to have time, any time, with them now.
That sh1t is f*cking profound.