The longer I’ve been here in England, the more entrenched I’ve becoming in seeing this as my home. While I also see Ohio as home-and forever will I feel that way, I’m sure-I have far fewer, far less frequent pangs of homesickness than I ever used to. That being said, today I’m reminded of how many important moments I miss by persevering in this life that I have here in England, continuing to build it and put down roots and become permanently entrenched within it.
Today is my niece’s 5th birthday. Fifth! I remember when she was born-another event I missed because I was living in South Korea at the time. I didn’t even meet her until she was 4 months old. My sister’s son was born just before Christmas in 2012, and I didn’t meet him until he was 2 months old-I was already living in the UK then. He barely knows who I am, as I’ve only seen him twice in his young life. I missed my mom’s 50th birthday. Next weekend my cousin is getting married, another wedding that I won’t be attending, same with another cousin’s wedding from last September that I couldn’t attend. I haven’t met my best friend’s baby girl, or another best friend’s new baby boy, or seen another best friend’s fancy downtown apartment. And countless other things that have come and gone.
The missing goes in ebbs and flows, but I am missing all the things today, and all the people. This whole immigrant experience has gotten so much easier as time has moved on and I don’t even think about it all that often any more, but some parts are never, and will never be, easy to deal with. The guilt for not being there for my loved ones is immense, and unavoidable. And I just don’t think it will ever get better, not really. I will never not feel guilty, and I will always be straddling two worlds.