A Letter to My Out-of-State Siblings This Holiday Season

Dear out-of-state siblings,

The holiday season is here. However, I can’t help but feel a small twinge of sadness. Can you feel it, too? Do you watch the snow fall or see a holiday display at your local grocery store but know it’s just not the same as it used to be?

Of course it’s not. You’re not here. I’m not there. We grew up together, but we’re no longer together. Your absence brings with it a small twinge of sadness. I feel it every day, but it is especially prevalent during the holidays.

Now, I understand this is what you sign up for when your siblings move out of state. Jobs, relationships, school… the reasons for your departure may vary. At the end of the day though, you’re putting down new roots in a place I’m not.

But did you ever think this would be how our adult holidays would be spent? I never thought that far ahead. Questioning the future didn’t seem necessary. Our childhood memories are vivid but distant. I long for the days of the past.

Do you remember waking up early to watch the parade? We were bundled up, hand and foot warmers tucked away, walking through downtown Detroit with absolute excitement. Our eyes wandered up the tall buildings and across the lanes of traffic. It was as if we were moving through a dream.

Though we may be states apart, we can still feel that same sense of excitement. I promise to watch the parade on television if you promise to do the same.

Do you remember those early mornings, sitting on the stairs, waiting for our parents to wake up? We couldn’t wait to open presents and stay in pajamas all day. We were witnessing the magic of the holidays and soaking up every second. I never thought about the day when that wouldn’t happen.

Though we may be states apart, we can still experience some of that holiday magic. I promise to stay in pajamas all day if you promise to do the same.

Do you remember the nights we’d spend making treats for the holidays? We would unwrap Hershey Kisses and sneak a few when nobody was looking. Sprinkles would be falling to the floor as we haphazardly decorated sugar cookies. Every cookie was a masterpiece too beautiful to eat yet too delicious to let sit.

Though we may be states apart, we can still indulge in cookie decorating. I promise to stick to the tried-and-true, passed-down-to-us recipes if you promise to do the same.

Do you remember family get-togethers, snuggled around a fire, staying up way past our bedtime? We’d laugh and share stories and never want the evening to end. There was magic in the air that we were desperate to cling to. Shutting my eyes tightly, I can almost see myself holding out for one more joke, one more smile.

Though we may be states apart, we can still have a family get-together. I promise to cheers my hot chocolate to you through Zoom if you promise to do the same.

Above all, I find myself nostalgic for the way things used to be. These timeless memories, forever preserved in my mind, are the ones I hold on to. They bring me joy and remind me of how much we have been through, together.

I will never stop telling my children about the memories I hold onto dearly. The ones where their aunt and uncle weren’t an aunt and uncle; they were a sister and a brother. We were young, we were full of magic, and we savored every moment.

I promise to create the same kinds of memories with my own children now. We will watch the parade, make cookies, and laugh until our bellies hurt. We will sit around, cozy and warm, and might even start a new tradition or two. I will watch the magic unfold through their eyes and wonder which memories they will be nostalgic for when they are older.

Though we may be states apart, we can still celebrate the holidays as though we are together. I promise to keep the memories alive if you promise to do the same.

Wishing you were here,
Your still-in-the-home-state sister

If the holiday season is difficult for you, check out Bobbie’s post on holidays and grief where she offers helpful tips for managing grief during the holidays.

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Whitney Cornelli
Whitney lives in Rochester Hills with her hard-working husband, their three daughters, and their German Shepherd. She is an MSU grad (Go Green!) who taught elementary school before trading in her classroom to become a SAHM. At naptime, you can find her editing blog content for Detroit Mom and running the community groups on Facebook. She loves to find new places to take her kids to, and one of these days she will figure out how to get out the door in a timely fashion. She enjoys connecting with other moms and sharing the triumphs and struggles of motherhood with them!


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