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Monday, 5 December 2011

Elisabeth Röhm's Holiday Surprise - Family

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is ending a very busy year.


The actress recently appeared on the big screen in Abduction, has upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Officer Down to come and is found online on Facebook and @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.


In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — celebrates Thanksgiving with her father and family, and gets some great news: everybody’s moving to California!


Does your family live close to you? Tell Elisabeth about your experience in the comments.


The holidays are always full of surprises as well as time-honored traditions, right?! Well, we experienced a little bit of both in Santa Fe, New Mexico over Thanksgiving. As we indulged in turkey, stuffing, cranberries and the usual fare, my father and stepmother — along with my sister — announced that they are all moving to California come summer.


Needless to say, I was blown away by the news!


First of all, my parents are total diehard New Yorkers. What will they do without that hustle and bustle? Are they sure they know what they’re getting into by moving to California of all places? The bagels just can’t compare! Secondly, my sister has been happily living in South Carolina. I mean, that’s a far nicer place than Los Angeles!


On top of that, I also really associate myself with the Empire State. So how strange will it be come summer when we’ll all be living in California for significant chunks of time? It just doesn’t feel natural — New York has defined all of us for so long.


It’s true that Ron, Easton and I already live in Los Angeles, but we also enjoy our regular sojourns to N.Y.C. To think that now when we go there to live and/or work, my parents will no longer be there holding down the fort through those sweltering summers and brutal winters … I almost can’t accept it. It feels like the end of an era.


Yet we were all thrilled by the news because Ron and I have been on our own without any grandparent assistance since Easton came into the world. It’s been lonely and sad at times not to have family with us. It’s also been hard on us as parents without familial support around.


I’ve certainly talked about that a lot in this blog. Since we don’t have any hired help, we tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to freedom or alone time. With this news at least comes a dinner on our own! I can feel the wind blowing in my hair as I write this, ladies. All I can say is, “Hallelujah!”


Not to mention that it will be very nice (and long overdue) to revisit my childhood with Dad and my stepmom. It’s been forever since we’ve all lived close to each other, and with the incentive of a grandchild, we are bound to make up for all that lost time. Not to mention that I’m thrilled Easton will get to know her aunt and uncle (who is already living in San Diego) even better, due to what will no doubt become ritualistic family time.


Does it cause me any anxiety to think of my parents moving to town? Perhaps, but it’s certainly outweighed by my excitement over the whole new chapter that lies ahead. My 20-something siblings, on the other hand, might be having their share of anxiety over living near their mom and dad. But truthfully, our parents are pretty cool, young at heart and seekers of fun. I’m sure — even for my younger brother and sister, who just achieved freedom — that they will enjoy the closeness of us all living in the same state.


This new chapter is especially exciting for us siblings who have spent many years apart due to our age difference and the separate households that we grew up in. Now we will have a chance to really spend time together. Easton will be able to see her aunt and uncle regularly, unlike myself who only gets to see my beloved Aunt Lolly a couple of times a year!


It’s going to be the end of an era and the start of what I hope will be an even happier time for my family. I feel truly blessed with this imminent change and as we know, change is good!


Really, it’s Easton that’s going to benefit the most and of course, that’s what really excites me. I watched her over the holiday, absorbing the attention of her grandparents like a sponge. I thought how lucky it is for her that she’ll get to be really close to them over the years, as opposed to seeing them three times a year for holidays, which was what my experience was.


Ours has always been a small and fragmented family, with my mother’s relatives in Tennessee and my father’s in Germany. I was the only child my parents — who divorced when I was 8 — had together, and to top it all off, I went to boarding school at the young age of 14. Thus, reaffirming my experience of family as something shared on holidays only. Boo-hoo.


I have always secretly wished for one of those loud, in-your-face families that have weekly dinners together. And now I’m going to get it! Be careful what you wish for, as they say. Gone are those low maintenance dinners with just Ron, Easton and I. So long to those comfortable little outings as a threesome. Now, all my relatives are moving to town to be close and to not let any more time slip by. I couldn’t be happier!


The idea of our being a clan that can see each other weekly for the first time is oddly a dream come true — even if it does produce a touch of anxiety! I mean, let’s face it, our parents always bring out the regressed teen in all of us that feels they can’t express their true feelings. Not to mention those parents are older, wiser and have done it all before. They are always full of advice, guidance and opinions.


Are we really ready for all that input? Sometimes togetherness can be exhausting, no? Most of us return from the holidays needing a holiday. I always much prefer telling part of the story rather than having to be accountable to my parents all these years later, which is so much easier achieved when you have an entire country between you. I mean, we’ve been doing really well here on our own in California all these years. Or have we? I think not. When it comes down to it, love and family are all that matter.


So as the tryptophan hit our veins, it all seemed like a dream as we talked about our future. With the drowsiness of Thanksgiving dinner enveloping us, we shared in the surrealism of this new chapter for our family come summertime.


For now it almost doesn’t seem real, PEOPLE.com, but I’m getting prepared for the change of a lifetime!

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