Last weekend, I went out of town.

For anyone who knows me, sometimes that in itself is a feat.  But you can hold the applause.  It really isn’t all that big of a deal.  To be honest, I have no problem leaving town.  It’s just getting me going that is a pain.

This time, though, I had a reason and a destination in mind: Cincinnati.  Home of my sister, her husband, and my one-and-only nephew.  I don’t see them that much.  Not anywhere near the amount that would be nice.  Especially since my nephew is, at most, sixteen months old.  They grow and change so much during that age.  It was only four months or so since I saw them last, and he’s drastically different.  There’s so much that I feel that I’m missing.

You see, family is important to me and mine.  They’ve always been there and will always be there, supporting me while I support them.  Still, it’s difficult when you live in two different states (though a five hour drive could be much worse than it could be).  Add in the fact that K and I don’t have children of our own, and things are a bit hard.

There are reasons I feel this way.  The distance between family members (emotionally and physically) is something that my family takes seriously.  Let me tell you a story:

I have an uncle.  A really nice and fantastic man.  But at the age of fourteen, despite him talking to my mother almost every week by phone, I had no idea what he looked like.  Then my great grandfather died.  My mother, my sister, and I traveled to the funeral.  And Mom spent hours talking to this strange man, seemingly the two spending most of their time together and the visitations, the meals, and all that family stuff.  Lo and behold, that man was my uncle.  I had no idea who he was.  Then we went out to dinner with him, just the four of us. To hear him say it, he realized he’d made a mistake when he went to give my sister (eleven at the time, I think) a hug.  She tensed up and had no idea who this man was.  It really bothered him and affected him deeply.  Since then, he’s made a large effort to be part of our lives.

Now, being an adult and looking back, I have only sympathy for him and how he felt.  It’s so easy to be thirty-something and caught up in your own life and concerns.  Life creeps up on you and you’re more interested in work or your pet projects or whatever is before you.  It is so easy to take things for granted, especially if you talk to your siblings on a regular basis.  But I think I know where his failing was.

And I don’t want to repeat it.

So I went down to Cincinnati with K for the weekend.  And had a blast doing it.  We always time this around a comic book convention that the four of us (K, my sister, my brother-in-law, and I) go to, so we had stuff to do if we wanted.  What was different this time was that K and I went down on Thursday instead of the usual Friday, giving us an extra day.

So we took our nephew out for the day.

To be fair, my sister wanted to know if K and I wanted to take care of him for the day.  Also to be fair, I was a little surprised.  Taking care of little kids is not my strong suit.  In fact, I’ve never done it before.  But apparently, my sister thought that I was adult enough to do it.  Her husband agreed.  So who was I to argue?  K and I took care of him for the day.

We went to the zoo.  If you’ve never been to the Cincinnati Zoo, it is quite the sight.  Very, very beautiful and well done.  My nephew had a blast for a 16-month old, and K and I had great fun taking care of him.  Then we went home where two of us collapsed for a power nap.  And by that, I mean that K was on her phone.  Hey, I was on vacation.  I can be lazy too.  After that, we briefly hit the first day of the convention.  It was fun, as was the other three days.

Most things were entertaining and average for a convention.  Save for one thing.  There was a panel on writing held by several names in Science Fiction and Fantasy about writing.  For an hour, there was a lot of information passed out and advice given.  Frankly put, I am still trying to digest most of it.  And when I do, I’ll share it with you.  Definately worth the time I put into it.

All in all, we needed our nephew fix and got it over the course of the weekend.  Between the zoo and the convention and all the games we played, the only sad part was when we had to leave yesterday.  I’m already missing them.

But that’s just life I guess.  We will have to get together again soon.  I don’t know when yet, but hopefully around Christmas time.  Probably we’ll go down to see them again, rather than them coming up. Easier to travel without kids then with them.  Of course, things may change some day.  Circumstances evolve.  What will be, will be.  But there will always be family.

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