Recently, I have been talking to my daughter about regrets, days gone by, and missing days of the past. It has forced me to think about how things have changed, and how much I miss relationships that we once held near and dear in the early days.
In the fall of 1984, I headed to college and Rusty joined the Navy. I looked so forward to his visits and got to know his family in an intimate manner while he was away. It was a very special time for me. I was in his sister’s wedding, and was blessed to help with the wedding held at the farm for his brother. I was honored to represent my future husband since he wasn’t able to come home for the events.
It was a proud time for the family, as Rusty served in the Navy and his brother and sister-in-law also served in the Army. I would come home to visit and rush to his family’s home in order to talk to him on Sunday afternoons, and I enjoyed catching up with his family. It took some time, but I felt included and loved.
I loved being in college, most especially marching in the Marching Band and playing in the Concert Band. I met some of my very best friends there, and the people in the band sorority and fraternity were very welcoming to Rusty. Whenever he visited, they joked and laughed with him as one of our group and I loved that about my friends. In fact, after we had our first child, they rallied together and joined us in support. Some of my favorite pictures are those holding our son.
My in-laws were key to gathering our new little families together and we never realized just how much until they were gone. Rusty’s mother passed in 2002 and his Dad passed in 2010. We miss them every day. They forced us to slow down and gather and I miss the stories the siblings would tell when we got together. When I was dating my husband, they teased one Easter as we sat down to eat the family pig. I was mortified! The young ones “oinked” and laughed while I nearly cried. I miss those days.
In 1988 we had the opportunity to go to see Rusty’s brother and our sister-in-law who were stationed in Germany. Our son was only 10 months old, but we felt it was important for the kids to meet one another and we were anxious to meet our new nephew. We had the most wonderful visit and saw many sites and castles! Rusty enjoyed the flowers in the flower boxes, the bright green grass, and the well-kept gardens. It was eye-opening to go so fast on the Autobahn, and see nude people on a pubic beach!
When the children were little, we also spent a lot of time with family, especially camping. We went a lot and had packing down to a science. It was so much fun to watch the children play together, enjoy sparklers, and swim together.
Today, I miss that. The two youngest members of the family have children of their own now. Rusty’s oldest brother remarried and had 2 more children that we hardly see. I’d give anything to be part of their lives and continue the gathering and camping traditions of days gone by. I’m not really sure what happened. Everyone just got busy. Priorities have changed. Life has happened. I just miss them.
So to the Higgins Family, I just want you to know that no matter what happens, I will always love you and I will always treasure the time spent with you, and to my college friends, those years were some of the best years of my life. You will forever be in my heart.