Friends and family, far away...

I have been having an on-line conversation with a friend of mine, whom I didn't get to see when I snuck into Toronto for Rosh Hashanna last month. I feel terrible about not seeing her. She is not making me feel terrible, but I feel terrible, none the less. I feel terrible about not seeing so many of my friends, but in a 3 day visit that involves a major holiday, my nieces birthday party, a dinner out with siblings and spouses and parents who work totally different schedules, I spend my time trying to fit into windows of time that they have to spend with me. It usually means that if anyone wants to see me, they need to stop by, but that means hanging out with my family too, because there isn't time for both, and with me home for just a few days, my family isn't going anywhere!

Having long distance relationships are hard...whether they be with a lover, a spouse, parents, siblings, or friends. There is a certain amount of missing that happens all the time, even when you are with the person. Inevitably the question, "When will I see you again?" comes up...and I always answer, "What about now, we are seeing each other now...can't we make the most of this?"
It's hard being the one that goes away, as the majority of the responsibility to maintain that relationship somehow falls on the person who left, and yet maintaing that relationship in a way that makes everyone feel satisfied is an impossible task. Impossible, expensive, and time consuming. The visits are never long enough and everyone feels shortchanged, the people you don't see, and even the people you do see lament that your visit isn't longer. I lament it too. But the truth is, I don't live in Toronto anymore, I live in L.A. and how many people actually get to take as much time off to visit as I do? If I had a real 9-5 job...I would only get two weeks a year! I try to talk regularly, e-mail, facebook, i-chat...I devote hours a day to staying in touch with friends and family afar, and still don't get around to everyone...and yet it is never enough and I know this. I know this. Nothing can take the place of just hanging in the same city as the ones you love. But I try, as do they. More and more now, we get visitors of friends and family making the trip to see us, staying in our little place and mucking in with our schedules as we try to wring out every little bit of time we have together.

And when they go, we always say..."When are you coming back?"

What about you, what do you do, to keep those long distance relationships happy and healthy?

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