As much as I bitch and complain about the DC metropolitan area, I don’t regret moving here most of the time. Sure, I’ll never, EVER get used to the weather (and today is a prime example of the yuckiness that is the weather in this area), but I do enjoy the city and all that it has to offer. And if I had never moved here, I would probably never have met the friends I have here (and I definitely wouldn’t have met Jesse and we all know how important he is to me). But occasionally, I wish that I had never come here. And one of those occasions occurred last night.
I had just gotten home from an evening at the gym. The gym and I are becoming better acquaintances after a couple of weeks of sporadic visits. I came home exhausted, but looking forward to good night of TV that included Ugly Betty and NCAA basketball. Just as I was getting settled to watch Ugly Betty, my mom called.
Mom: Hi, baby. (yes, she still calls me that even though I’m almost 30).
OCgirl: Hi, mami. Can I call you back? I was just about to start watching Ugly Betty.
Mom: Ok, I just want you to talk to someone really quick.
Mom: Hold on.
*Muffled sounds like someone awkwardly holding on to the phone*
Serena Rose (my niece): HI!
OCgirl (very, very emotional): Oh my God. Hi Serena! Hi baby!
Serena Rose (sounding like the happy 2-year-old she is): HI!
OCgirl: Oh wow. You’re on the phone. I love you, Serena!
Serena Rose: OK!
Serena Rose: OK! BYE, BYE!
*fighting back the lump in my throat as Serena hands the phone to my mom*
OCgirl: Oh wow, so she can talk on the phone.
Mom: Yeah, and she also says uh-huh like she’s listening and understanding what everyone is saying.
OCgirl: Oh that’s cute.
Mom: I just wish you could see her. It’s like we meet a whole new aspect of her personality every week.
OCgirl: Yeah, I bet.
Mom: Well, I’ll let you go. I just wanted you to talk to Serena. Enjoy your show.
OCgirl: Thanks, mom. I love you.
Mom: I love you too.
I closed my phone and immediately wished I was home. At that moment, I hated myself for leaving my family and not being around to watch Serena Rose grow up. I’ve missed everything, all of those little milestones. If I had never moved, I could’ve been there to see the milestones. I am her aunt. I just want to be there for her.
My mom tells me that she shows Serena pictures of me all the time so she doesn’t forget me between visits. I think this contributed a lot to her being comfortable with me while I was home for Christmas (the previous visit involved some reacquainting time). But it saddens me that she would have to do that at all.
I want to be there when she starts going to school. I want to be there when she learns to ride a bike. I want to be there when she needs help with her math homework. I want to comfort her when she gets teased at school. I want to take her to her first (of many) USC football game. I want to be the person she turns to when she needs to talk to someone about sex.
But I can’t do these things unless I move back home.