Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Annelise!



The above photo was taken the last time I saw Annelise. She's much bigger now. With more hair.


I have three nieces who are just smart and wonderful and gorgeous. Sadly, I very rarely get to see them, because they live with my sister in Costa Rica. It's just one of those life things...hard, but you make it work somehow.

It's been over a year since I've seen them...Emily does write the occasional review for The Friendly Book Nook, but we're all just so busy...living life, cooking our dinners, going to work, being children. When your family and friends live far away, you have to be very intentional about carving out time to make sure they remember you exist in the middle of all the mundane activities of life.

I've not been great about it. I need to be better. I was thinking about Annelise the other day, that her birthday was coming, and how I'm pretty sure she's completely different from the shy 20 month old I last saw. She is after all, turning 3.

I just felt such sorrow..over all the minutes missed, the hugs that were never shared, the jokes between us that will never be created, the fact that I never once laid eyes on her while she was two years old. The fact that really I'm a stranger to her....this is the stuff of heartbreak.

And yes even as I type this, I'm crying.

There's this song by the 10,000 Maniacs and Natalie Merchant....that captures perfectly the way that I feel. I've put the lyrics below, and here's a link to a video with pictures of some strange child I don't know, but it was the only way I could find to share the melancholy music with you as well.

"My, how you've grown." I remember that phrase from my childhood days too. "Just wait and see." I remember those words and how they chided me, when patient was the hardest thing to be. Because we can't make up for the time that we've lost, I must let these memories provide. No little girl can stop her world to wait for me.
I should have known. At your age, in a string of days the year is gone. But in that space of time, it takes so long. Because we can't make up for the time that we've lost, I must let those memories provide. No little girl can stop her world to wait for me.
Every time we say goodbye you're frozen in my mind as the child that you never will be, you never will be again. I'll never be more to you than a stranger could be.
Every time we say goodbye you're frozen in my mind as a child that you never will be, will be again.




Amy

19 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Happy Birthday Annelise! Carl and I are the only ones who live away from our families and it is hard. Fortunately, we're smack dab between them right now, so it only takes 6 hours to get to them, but some days that 6 hours seems like 6 weeks.

Red lady-Bonnie said...

Happy Birthday Annelise! My husband and I live far away from most of our relatives including our parents and niece and nephews. It is hard to miss out on seeing them grow up and establish relationships. My son is 10 and it's hard for him not to have grandparents nearby but he talks to them regularly, emails, skypes and see thems a few times a year. Can you set up Skype to talk/see each other and then she would know who you are? It's helped my son a lot, he plays piano for the grandparents and shows them things and it helps to keep that connection.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I know how you feel! I am 3000 miles away from my nieces and they grow so fast! When I see them now they are shy around me and it really makes me feel like crying too! Skype is a good idea - better than nothing! I'm going to look into it!

Happy Birthday to Annelise and my heart goes out to you!

Beth F said...

Awww. I know how you feel though since my nephews are in Seattle and I'm in central Pennsylvania. I have missed watching them grow up.

Dar said...

Awwww, I'm sorry Amy. I can feel your pain through the lyrics you shared and your words. It's tough being away from those you love. Happy Birthday Annelise! Such a pretty name.

twiga92 said...

Aw, I can relate! My nieces and nephew are growing up in Africa so I don't get to see them very often. It's hard.

Amee said...

Aw, I can only imagine how that feels! I get to see my niece and nephew almost every day. They're going to be moving soon though and I'll see them less. It's hard to even think about right now and their move is months away!

Nymeth said...

Awww Amy. I'm so sorry you're far away from your sister and nieces :( *big hugs*

That is a beautiful song.

Amy said...

Thanks for all the kind and commiserating comments everyone! :)

I think last night I was in a melancholy mood and a cry was just the thing I needed. Also, where I live, it sometimes feels like everyone has their family just right there. So I'm sorry so many of you are far away from your families, but it's nice to not be alone. ;)

I do have skype, but I don't have a webcam yet.

Dee S. said...

Happy Birthday, Annalise!

Vickie said...

{HUGS} to you and Happy Birthday Annalise!

bkclubcare said...

I live far from loved ones, too and as a child - most of my aunts and uncles were far away, too. I work at keeping in contact with them now and probably have a better relationship than most even if we go very long stretches in between seeing them in person. I've always wondered about Skype - I hope it can work for you. Love is an energy force and can cover many miles... Happy Easter!

Eva said...

I have a niece who just turned three. I was lucky enough to be her nanny from the summer of 07 through the summer of 08, and now that we live in different states I miss her dreadfully. We use Skype, though, which definitely helps!

I'm trying to say I'm sorry that you're so far from your niece and sister. *hugs*

(As a sidenote, flights to Costa Rica are pretty cheap, especially in this economy. If I were you, I'd be all over such a good excuse to visit paradise. ;))

ANovelMenagerie said...

An award is awaiting you at A Novel Menagerie in the Sunday Salon Post.

Sheri

Happy Easter.

Beth Kephart said...

Natalie Merchant is one of my favorite, most favorite singers, and time passing like this is one of my greatest sorrows.

I understand and am thinking of you.

Amy said...

bkclubcare...thanks for sharing! I hope to be close to them as well, in some way through their lives. You're right...love is powerful! :)

Eva..I know! I need to plan another trip..I have been there a few times. :)

Thanks Sheri!

Thanks Beth...I love Natalie, too!

S. Krishna said...

Beautiful post, Amy. They're lucky to have you as an aunt. Happy birthday Annelise!

Melody said...

Happy Birthday, Annalise! :)
{{Hugs to Amy}}

Jenny Girl said...

Happy belated birthday Annelise! She is adorable.
Maybe you guys could set up a web cam and dedicated time every two weeks or so? Make it an appt you can't miss.

Don't be so hard on yourself either. You do the best you can. Yes you are missing the toddler years, but when Annelise gets older, and starts to realize more, then that's when you should make sure to be in her life more. She will remember all those web chats when she gets older. Know what I mean?
Or send her some books to read. She'll know they are from you and prob cherish them.

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