Family, family, family. Some people see their families once a week, some people once a month and some once a year. Often that is because of going to college or moving out of your hometown (or home country), but it can also be just because of changing priorities. For example, when I came to college my priorities shifted toward "finding out who I was" and "developing myself" as an individual, student, future professional and friend. Freshman year came and went, sophomore year came and went, junior year came and went, and until the end of the last year, those priorities remained the same. Family, as I have heard other people put it, seemed like it would be there forever and I could always just fall back into it with no harm done. Whether I called home once a week or once a month or visited home once a month or once every few months, it didn't seem to matter. Or maybe more accurately, I didn't want it to matter that much. I wanted everything to stay the same while I changed. What I found, hopefully not too late, is that what I did mattered and things did change.

During my time in college, my brother has grown from a third grader into a sixth grader and I now hesitate to carry him to his bunk bed when before I could practically fling him up into it. My sister has grown from a tenth grader into a high school graduate and, though I still can't quite believe it, I notice how very close to a woman she is every time I hug her. My parents have gone through a separation and my old house, which I have called home for eight years, was sold last week. So each time I go home now my family is in (at least) two spots: my mom's house and my dad's house. (I say at least because other spots might include basketball games, soccer games, work places and so on and so on). My dad has a new job and my mom has a new job too. My parents are still my parents, but (unlike when I left for college) I see them now as people too. My mom is my mentor and my friend. And my dad is my mentor and my friend. And my brother and sister, whether they know it or not, are my friends and my mentors too. This is not unlike the fact that I am their mentor too, whether I know it or not.

Change, I am finding, is not bad but good. In the case of my family, change means finding out more of who we all are and who we all want to be. We get to explore what makes us each truly happy and what makes us each feel successful, together. It is hard. It is even frightening sometimes, but it is good.

College has been an important time to "find out who I am" and "develop myself" like I thought it would. But I have been surprised to find that who I am, what makes me truly happy and successful and what I want to develop into is a strong family member. Right now that means being a good brother, son, nephew, cousin and grandson. In years to come that will probably include being a good husband, father, grandfather and everything-in-law (son, brother, etc.). For now though, I think the first few will keep me busy. In fact, I'm quite glad they will.