My sister is in the middle of moving to Alaska. She and my nephew and niece have come to visit for the week. Her husband and two dogs will get here on Saturday, and then they'll all leave on Monday.
We've been fortunate for the last half dozen years in that we've managed to spend big chunks of time under the same roof. There was the time in 2001, I think, where she and the kids lived with me for a few months (an Army wife war story). Then there was the month she came out in 2003 when Jenny was born (yet another Army wife war story). In between and since, one of us would visit the other and stay for at least a week. Not a year has gone by where we haven't done this, and we very happy our children have had these opportunities to be together. Often, the quarters have been so crowded that in the end we are all sick to death of each other and the kids act like squabbling siblings more than fun, yet rarely seen, cousins.
And that's the way we like it. Only people who know you really well can get under your skin so much. The "sibling rivalry" among non-siblings is a sign that we've accomplished our goal of tight-knit family togetherness.
But Alaska is very far away. I'm not confident that we'll be able to see each other annually, and three years is a long time for little children. So her visit here is somewhat sad. I rejoice at having yet another opportunity to be together, but I worry it will have to sustain us for some time.