Visiting

I come from a long line of visitors. As a child, my dad took me to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. My paternal uncle, Fr. Ron, picked us up on Sunday afternoons to go visiting. With a white plastic collar tucked into his solid black shirt, we knew Fr. Ron was off the clock and it was time to visit relatives as well as friends.

Back in the day, visiting was the way people communicated. “Stopping by” was not frowned upon, it was welcomed. I can picture my mom standing at the stove as my dad and Uncle Jerry had a few beers at the kitchen table. Conversation and preparation went hand in hand.

In my travels, I’ve been fortunate to be welcomed by my friends and family. A former roommate in Las Vegas said, “You sure know lots of people.” I replied, “Yes, mostly along each coast and the midwest, but that’s enough territory for me to cover.”

It is extra special when others visit me in Arizona. Thankfully, I have a traveling family. Some of the kids haven’t made it out, while others have taken the journey without adults in tow. For my 50th birthday, 19 members of my family traveled to Phoenix for the weekend to celebrate ME. I was shocked, amazed, and so happy. I never felt so much love.

For my sister Jan’s 50th birthday I surprised her by showing up in Chicago. As a gift, I placed two envelopes in front of her, one with a 50 dollar bill, the other with an invitation to come to my house for dinner. Initially, her hand rested on one envelope, but at the last minute she moved to the other. A TRIP TO AZ was in the works. Jan, Dale, Lor and a “surprise” visitor, my dad. I was so happy to have a small birthday party for Jan at my home. Jan had said, “Well, it’s not like I don’t see you.” I replied, “Yeah, but I come to your house, I’m glad to have you in mine.”

My brother T and his daughter Lindsey are the latest visitors. In the planning stages, I recognized how much AZ has to offer and how happy I am to share time with my family at my home. That doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I am certainly thrilled to share my life, to show others what I see daily.

The other day I learned that my nieces and nephews do visit, they just do it differently. Lindsey explained Snap Chat to me. I knew it involved pictures but never  stories. That’s how they visit. Although I prefer the old fashion way, I was thrilled to hear that the kids share their lives with each other.

When I moved out west to go to school, I quickly realized my good fortune. I have family and friends who want to visit, who share their lives with me and who allow me to share mine. Visiting is not overrated. In my view, it is the greatest gift of all. Sharing time in my home is something I value and I am happy to have had the opportunity to be welcomed by so many near and far. I appreciate all of you. Be well… NMT

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