When distance makes you closer

13 06 2014

My sister and I were never particularly close growing up. There’s nearly five years between us so we were at completely different life stages throughout our formative years.

She went to boarding school at the age of 12. I stayed home with my mum and went to the local state comprehensive.

When she moved out of home, she continued to live (and still does) in the same area we grew up in. I left home in Manchester and moved to the other end of the country, just outside London, at 18. And I left the UK six years ago.

We’re chalk and cheese in many ways. Different personalities. Different looks. Different life goals. But that’s cool. We are different people after all.

Andrea lucy me

Just recently I was having a private Facebook chat with her. A lot of it was around planning for her upcoming trip out to visit with my mum. Needless to say, we’re all very excited about it! It will be almost three years since I last saw them. Since I last gave them a hug.

Then during our chat she surprised me. She told me that she wished I were closer so she could be there for me when I need her.

Now our household was never very tactile. We didn’t hug much. We didn’t tell each other on a regular basis that we loved each other, outside of the obligatory signing of a birthday or Christmas card. Feelings weren’t an open subject. We were your typical ‘stiff upper lip’ British family I guess.

So this statement kind of took me back a bit. It’s always been kind of implicit in our relationship. But it’s not something we’ve openly talked about.

Now this wasn’t just an out of the blue comment. She has been helping me through a tough time that, normally, I might have just dealt with on my own. But for various reasons, I leant on her for support.

She also surprised me a lot. I truly expected her to judge me, and my decisions, a lot more than she did. I thought she’d think I was stupid. But in the true style of someone who loves you and cares about you, she didn’t. She was completely supportive.

It’s the only downside to living in NZ. Truly. I love living here more than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. But the fact that my family, and the friends who know me best are on the other side of the world, is really hard. Especially when times are tough.

She might not realise it, but although she wasn’t here physically to be a shoulder to cry on and offer moral support, the fact that she reached out to me, kept checking in with me, offered me words of wisdom and didn’t judge me, meant that she was there for me when I needed her.

It was enough to know that she had my back. It was enough to know she cares.

But it’s a very different situation when you’re not seeing each other when you’re bogged down with the daily grind. You’re not constantly exposed to their annoying habits that irk you so much (and yours them). I’m sure if I moved in next door we’d be back to fighting like, well, sisters again.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Distance equals absence in most cases. It makes you appreciate what you no longer have to hand.

The same goes for my relationship with my husband. I’ve endured six months of long-distance hell – for more than one reason. But it served as a big wake-up call and now that we’re living together again, we’ve vowed to make a concerted effort to treat our relationship with more respect.

Like with family, it’s far too easy to get bogged down in the humdrum of everyday life.

It’s time to stop taking things for granted.

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