The New York Branch of La Familia knew this would happen one day, and the day came on Saturday afternoon. In the midst of what was an incredibly hectic day, The Road Warrior made the permanent move to join the wife a.k.a. The Shopping Lawyer and the rest of the Southern Branch of La Familia. The commuting relationship, I’m sure, has not been easy. So, this is good thing, right? You have to keep saying it quietly to yourself:
When people need to move on, be unselfish. You have to let them go.
The composition of our family in Nueva York is a world away from what it used to be years ago.
I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, so run with me here…
When The West Indian Mother and I moved to New York, we became part (well, not quite, but for what it’s worth, I’ll leave it as that) of a very large community of family, extended family and friends, especially those of relatives who had already been living in New York for years. We were the bumpkins from the islands who came with heavy accents (not those who had already be speaking with the American twangs) and “foreign” ways. At least we weren’t alone. America can be a very scary and lonely place when you know no-one. America can be a very scary and lonely place when you do not have a support system — however artificial sometimes. America can be a very scary and lonely place when you are starting over from scratch — new homes, new grocery stores, new school, new employers, new customs — new lives, period. America can be a very scary and lonely place when you are told, reminded, slighted, demeaned, whatever, when Americans find satisfaction in telling you how much better they are compared to you and how much more sophisticated they are, and how much richer they are. Yes, all of those things. So, contrary to the unrealistic belief, when you’re an immigrant, it’s not so “easy”.
Now, look at us. All in different parts of the country, in different cities. We’ve fragmented. Thankfully, we’ve been here a while, so things aren’t so lonely or scary anymore. However, there’s a sadness. With the departure of The Road Warrior, it signals things have really changed. Many have moved on over the years. The “immediate” family can now be counted on one hand. I never imagined that one day “The Family” would look like this.
The reality of all realities is, our relationships will change. We’ve seen it with other departures. Although you still stay in touch, it isn’t like it used to be. It just isn’t. You get wrapped up in your lives locally, and frankly, you don’t remember to call, you rarely visit and you grow apart in a lot of ways. Eventually what I call “stranger tendencies” creep in. You know each other, but not really — not like before. It’s strange.
The Road Warrior has moved on. There were no goodbyes. I wasn’t home to see him drive away. Maybe it was for the best. I’m happy for him, albeit sad for myself and the rest of us left behind.
A chapter has closed. A new one begins.