As a native Chicagoan, I should be used to the cold January days, that lack of sun...which is exactly what we have had recently but briefly (thank God!) However, it doesn't mean I have to actually like winter. Upon returning from Florida, I was definitely down. I missed the warmth. I missed wearing short sleeve shirts and fun skirts. But mostly. I just. missed. my. family. Despite the wonderful 300+ days of sun, incredibly mild weather year-round, glorious mountains that look down and provide a sense of protection in the distance, and let's not forget the most wicked IPAs on the planet, Colorado lacks the joy, affection and love of my family. I believe that I as get older, I become increasingly sensitive to not having my sisters down the street to spend Saturdays with, running errands or sharing a cup of coffee while gossiping. I can't just drive over to my parent's house on Sunday for dinner or scour their pantry for cookies or chips, raid my mother's vanity for her latest freebies from Lancome or Estee Lauder . My brother and I can't just go grab a beer and quote random Chris Farley movies. I was so ignorant in my 20s. I was spoiled. I was stupid. They were right. THERE. and I didn't take advantage of that. Hindsight is 20/20. I never really understood that expression until now. I have no idea what the future holds. Perhaps it will sway in my favor and "someone" will move here. I needn't say names as they know who they are. I think I talk to my little sister every other morning...without fail, for 30 minutes. What do we talk about? WHO CARES. We laugh. We share. We are close, finally. She is training for her first 5k. I talk to my older sister several times a week too. We always know what's going on each other's lives. We make fun of grade school teachers (nuns actually...we're so going to hell!) We remember. My brother busts his ass at work, then spends hours a day, training at the gym. We are dead opposites...and a lot alike. I am all cardio and carbs, he is all weights and protein. He weighs, literally, twice as much as I do. But he makes me freaking laugh. I try to reach out to him every few weeks or so, just to make sure he's ok. My parents and I talk almost weekly. Hell, I even talk to my brother-in-law 2-3 times a week. I am so fortunate that I am so close to them. My heart breaks for my friends who don't have that same relationship. I told Mike a few months ago that family vacations are a *priority.* Top of the list. I wouldn't be who I am today without them and every time I am with them, I forget about everything else...the troubles, the worries, the stresses. I get to be...ME. The clown. The nosey one. The one who speaks up and talks wildly with my hands, and typically in a loud voice. I cry. Yes, I am the cryer, the emotional one. I wear my heart on my sleeve. and they don't care. We're not a perfect family though. Hell, we're just as dysfunctional as the next (that's what 12 years of Catholic schooling will do to you!) we drive each other crazy. But we love each other, flaws and all. They have gotten up at 5am to come see me race. They have traveled all over the country to cheer me on, as if every marathon or Ironman was my first. My parents still scream at the top of their lungs when I cross the finish line, after they have patiently waited there for 4 hours (or 13), in the heat, hungry...exhausted...but so proud. My mom knows exactly how many marathons I've run. and not because it's posted in my profile. Because she just knows. She was torn because the Boston Marathon is the same weekend as her 3rd granddaughter's 1st birthday. Um, Ma...go see your grandchild turn 1! I will qualify again, I promise. I think if I gave my pop a cheesy plastic button that said "My daughter Kristina runs marathons", he would wear it proudly to work, every day. Seriously. I'm a lucky kid. and sister. and Aunt. and wife (that goes without saying) and one day...I hope to be a lucky mom.