Today when I woke up, I looked over the ocean and thought to myself, “Wow, a few years ago my sister experienced the exact same thing, this exact view, and this exact feeling.” It was like a part of her was with me when I was standing there because we both share this experience, but at different times. Then I thought about how cool it would be if we could both experience it together some day, or better yet if my entire family could experience this view together someday. I missed my family, but not in a way that I needed them here, but I just wanted them here and I knew that this was not a bad thing. I didn’t need to talk to them because I know if I texted them or called them there would be a ton of questions because we all know that parents like to ask questions, and I didn’t have any time for that. So I continued on with my day, thought about how cool it would be if they were here, but I was okay with them being at home.
I was sitting at a table with Elliot and our friend Lungi today who is a leader at the camp. We started talking about how sometimes we felt awkward talking to the campers because we don’t experience what they experience, but we want to know them. This topic lead us into talking about families, and she said “it’s hard because the three of us go home to our parents asking us how we are, but some of these kids do not, so sometimes telling them they are loved and giving them a hug is more than enough.” I’m pretty sure Elliot would agree with me on this, my mind was blown. I cannot imagine walking into my house and not having my mom or dad ask me how I am doing, telling me they love me, or asking what I learned at school. I also can’t imagine not being able to send them a text, an email, a Facebook message, or call them when I need them. All of these things are reality for me, but they are not always a reality for the leaders and the campers that we are working with. Lungi continued to tell us about what family life is like in the townships, and it just amazed me, not in a way that was good but in a way that was shocking. I cannot imagine not having a supportive family. This conversation went on for about a hour.
After this conversation I realized how blessed and how fortunate I am to have the family that I do. A family that cares for me, loves me, and truly wants to know how I’m doing even if it annoys me when they ask me how school is going or how my day was. I realized that sometimes I’m so wrapped up in my life that I forget to tell my parents how much they mean to me, my sister how great of a friend she has been, and I forget to tell my friends that they keep me laughing. It’s a huge issue that everyone, myself included, struggles with. We are afraid to tell people how we feel because that shows vulnerability. We might know we are blessed by these relationships, but why are we so afraid to be vulnerable? I wish I knew the answer. My outlook on my family has changed today. After my conversation with Lungi I realized that I am lucky to have a family who cares and supports me. I am blessed beyond belief, and today was one of those days that reminded me of this.