Does Absence Really Make The Adult Heart Grow Fonder?

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The next couple of weeks of my life will be celebrating milestones and reunions.  There will be a dinner with a friend whose recently became a home owner, followed by my eight year anniversary with my boyfriend, and then a visit from my mom in early November.

It seems that much of my adult life recently has been lived in the anticipation of seeing people again, people who a mere decade ago or less were either right around the corner from me or living under the same roof. Unlike many of my friends, I never lived away from home during undergrad or took a semester abroad. It was only later on, during my Masters, that I resided in Ontario while my family and boyfriend remained in Quebec.  I think the result is that many of my amigos had an earlier taste of freedom, and the challenges that sometimes accompany it, than I did.

A perpetual late bloomer, I feel like the past few years have been a tardy onset of learning how to fend for myself in the great big world.  I've felt this most acutely with my parents. I often wondered if I remained in Montreal and tried to build a life for myself there, would I run to their house each time I had a hiccup or felt discouraged?  As it is, they are the first people I call in times of doubt. Although even in that respect, I like to think that I've gotten better at consoling myself.

My mom's impending visit, and my excitement around it, have got me thinking of the pros and cons of living away from one's immediate family.  It helps that we are six hours apart and not overseas, but I still wonder if quality really trumps quantity. I know that if I was still living in Montreal I'd probably be over every Sunday for dinner (at the very least) but would I be as jazzed to see her as I am now? 

Would I be working on an itinerary for what to do on our visit with such fervor, making sure that we hit all the places that I've wanted to share with her, the tastes, sounds, sights, that make Toronto more than just an alien city to me? 

I don't really have an answer quite yet.  All I know is that in the absence of physical proximity to my family, I sure think about them a lot more.  My mom, my dad, my brother and sister-in law, and of course the family pets.  I wonder whether I'll look back on these years and think that it was a mistake to live so far away from them, or that it was exactly what I needed to see them with the amount of love, respect and individuality that each one of them deserves. To see us each as separate but together and bound by deeper ties than just an area code.