Even though we are surrounded by Christmas decorations and everywhere I go holiday music is blaring, I’m having a really hard time wrapping my mind about the fact that it’s already December and that this year is already coming to a close. It seems like only yesterday we were in Puerto Rico celebrating last Christmas, and now we are once again breaking out the suitcases in preparations for a Caribbean holiday.

It’s gone by so quickly that it takes some reflection to notice the passage of time. My parents have come to visit since last Christmas, but I last saw everyone else during that trip. When I think long and hard about all that has happened since I saw most of my family, it makes the distance between us more difficult to bear.

Liam was 6 months old when we were in Puerto Rico last. He will now be 18 months old. How did that happen? How did he get from tiny chubby baby to a (still tiny, still chubby) toddler so quickly? My family last saw him when he was just learning to sit up by himself. He has now doubled his size and is running around like a crazy man all over the place.

Dylan, too, has grown so much in the past year. He is so tall and lean – all the remainder of his “baby fat” is gone. With his glasses, too, he looks so much older than he did last year. I know my family will be shocked at how much he has sprouted.

I don’t even want to THINK about how much of my niece’s life I have missed. The last time we saw her, she was nine months old, just starting to walk, and not even talking yet. Now she is 21 months old and can already recognize numbers and shapes. She is a total chatterbox and such a little toddler princess! I cannot wait to see her again!

Needless to say, I am getting really pumped for our trip. I’ve never regretted moving away from Puerto Rico and still to this day know that it is not the place for me even though I love my island and my culture, but realizing how much of my boys’ life my family is missing out on, and how much of our niece’s life we are missing in return makes the distance much more difficult.

It’s the same with our nephew in Seattle. There is so much of his life we have already missed and will continue to miss out on. Of course, on the other hand, we are so lucky to have most of Bill’s family here and to have the boys grow up living close to their cousins Justin and Jack. Both Dylan and Liam adore them and the older boys are really great with them. Sometimes I just wish we could have it all, the whole family nearby, but I guess it’s just the price we pay for having the freedom to live where we choose.

You can bet we are going to take full advantage of the time we will have with my family while in PR, though!

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