Our family is divided.
My mom, Sigrun Hovland, is in the Twin Cities area where she and my father, Gjert, raised my brother, Larry, my sister, Heidi, and me.
My brother and his wife, empty nesters, live in the northern Metro.
My sister fled to the Big Apple shortly after college graduation. She and her husband are raising their son and daughter in Maplewood, a quaint NJ suburb a quick train ride away from New York City.
I wound up in the South, hence the MinnDixie theme. My husband, David, and I made our home in Huntsville, AL. (Granted, we had a slight northern relapse, moving back to Minneapolis in April 2008 only to return a year-and-a-half later when we came to our senses.)
Other than one sister who lives “up North,” my husband’s family is mostly in the Twin Cities. The last time our girls, Serina and Sophia, saw most of their cousins was Christmas 2010.
This week, we have enjoyed fitting the Alabama, New Jersey and Minnesota pieces together during a spring break in Orlando. Serina, 6, and Sophia, 4, have picked up with Lena, 9, and Riordan, 5, as if no time had passed, when in fact more than 15 months have whizzed by since we were together last. Mom is here, too.
My sister and I have always been very close, so it is nice to see our children connecting so beautifully. I believe the same deep-seeded relationships hold true for our girls and their other cousins.
Though not geographically near, David and I are emotionally bound to our siblings and their spouses. Their children, I believe, are inherently connected to ours.
It’s no different from what Larry, Heidi and I experienced growing up. With parents who emigrated to the U.S. from Norway, our cousins, aunts and uncles were all over in the “old country,” but our parents made it work. We will, too.
During this vacation, we have done a phenomenal job of capturing great memories, as well as some pretty darn good photos, of Serina and Sophia with this set of cousins.
And I must always remember that family cannot be severed by distance; only divided. And that only holds true until the next trip, when love and affection multiply.