This could be my life

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I have a really large extended family. Aunts, uncles, cousins galore. A bunch of baby-crazy cousins at perfect babysitting age, as a matter of fact. The whole family is really close and gets together for dinner nearly every Sunday.

1,000 miles away from where I live.

I’m all for independence. I’m proud of the things I am able to do on my own with both kids.  And I firmly believe that having too much help can be a hindrance as far as boosting a new mom’s confidence in her abilities.  But, man alive, it sure would be nice to have family nearby.

This week, I have a little taste of what that kind of life might look like.  Being at home for the holidays, we are suddenly surrounded by family.

carolina

Just imagine… grandparents who get to see the grandkids more than twice a year. Aunts and uncles who aren’t strangers. Cousins who love to play Play-Doh and fight over the chance to babysit.  Hell, we had seven adults for three toddlers at the aquarium yesterday.  It’s a whole different life, and I think I could love it.

Oh, sure, the pace of togetherness would be more relaxed than the concentrated bursts we have during our visits. I would need and want a little more space than I have right now, sleeping in my mother’s guest room.  But still…

gramps-piano

We’ve talked about moving back here, and really hope to do so in the next few years.  I’d be sad to leave the friends I’ve made, but there’s nothing quite the same as living close to family. I have really felt that hole in my life over the last two years. Skype is a lifesaver, and all, but it’s no substitute for being able to call your mom and have her watch the kids so you can run an errand, or to actually have some extra hands on deck when mommy has a sick day.

What about you, fair readers? Do you live near a family support system? Is it an indispensable asset, or a pain in the butt? Or are you like me, and only see the family a few times a year? Do you go through phases of wishing you lived closer, or is the distance all for the best?

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14 thoughts on “This could be my life”

  1. I wish every day that Jon’s mom lived here. No way am I EVER moving to Fargo. As the boys get older, I do wish they had more family around but no one lives in a place we want to move. I had very fond memories growing up with my grandparents and there is something so special about that unconditional love that is not the same as your parents’ love.
    .-= LauraC´s last blog ..Phone Photo Monday – the evolution of Santa =-.

  2. When my husband and I married, we had the choice of Michigan (our home state) or St. Louis, MO. We chose Michigan to be close to family, and boy, am I glad now!!!! My mother has been a HUGE help to us, and you say it perfectly; she’s an extra set of hands on deck for when I need a pinch hitter. She’s also more than eager to babysit for date nights, so my hubby and I get out several times per month. My children love her like nobody other…she is definitely a fixture in their lives, and it makes me all warm and happy to witness it.

    I’m also fairly close to my siblings…close enough for day trips, and I look forward to my kids growing up knowing their cousins like I did. Two of my sisters had babies within two months of me, so we’ve got four in the same age group and it’s a blast.

    I wouldn’t have it any other way, and hope you’re able to make the move soon.

  3. My parents just moved to our town and I have to say I love it. We are really close, so I don’t mind having them around at all. We eat dinner together at least once a week and they babysit happily for us. The kids really enjoy having them around and getting to spend so much more time with them. I love seeing the relationship they have with their grandparents and how much they light up when they see them.

    My husband’s family lives far away, so that is tough. But, you do the things you can (skype, phone calls, etc.) to try to keep them as close as possible. I can’t see them ever moving here, but we would love to have them close by too.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Rainforest Cafe part deux and Why I Can’t Get a Good Photo =-.

  4. I’m trying to make that decision right now – stay where we are, with solid friends and a nice job and hot weather and an independent routine, or move closer to family, with cousins and grandparents around the corner, hubby’s childhood friends with kids of their own, and constant drizzle.

    I don’t know. The help would be fantastic. My mother-in-law is my best friend anyway. However, I worry that family wouldn’t look as idyllic up close. We would have to live the drama instead of hearing about it every now at then.

    My hubby’s cousin R was married to an airman, so they lived all over the place. He left the Air Force, and they moved back to OR to be near their families. They had a baby. Then there was massive family drama involving another cousin and her drug use around her children, and now R’s parents aren’t talking to her and don’t see her son. R thinks it was worth moving home to be around her in-laws, but regrets the toll that it took on her relationship with her family. And she wasn’t nearly as happy living in Missouri as we are in Texas.

    Much to ponder. There’s no question that we do NOT want to be near my family. The drama certainly outweighs any help they might offer.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Milestone: Puzzle books =-.

  5. Oh how I wish wish wish I lived closer to my family. They’re 800 miles away and I miss them. Husband really won’t even consider moving…we live in his hometown. I’m left trying to convince my family to move here! Maybe when my parents retire…a girl can dream, anyway.
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Snow Day! =-.

  6. Hmmm, I never ever had a problem being the only one in my family in Johannesburg while everyone else is an 11-hour drive away. That was the first 16 years since I moved away from home.

    Now that the babies are here, I do miss having family. We pay for babysitting just to have a date night and then I see my sister able to drop off her son with any one of about 5 different people and I long for that.

    BUT as Sadia says, maybe the drama would outweigh the help LOL and I’ve always said peace of mind is PRICELESS :)
    .-= Leigh from 123 blog´s last blog ..We survived the first family visit =-.

  7. I live in Japan. We are all the way across the pond from friends and family. My husband is a pilot in the USMC and he is always gone. My extended family is very close and to say that I wish we lived closer, even a few hour flight away would be putting it lightly.

    One the other side of things, I have raised my almost 1 year old twin girls without the help of family. And it truly has been an awesome experience. Doing it alone has made me feel confident in what I am doing, especially since my husband (the relief) is hardly present.

    One thing that raising twins across the ocean has taught me…I am a much more optimistic person than I had previously thought. I’ve made the most out of every situation. I’ve taken the girls on all sorts of outings alone. This experience makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING alone! But I still long for the days when Grandma and Pop Pop live around the corner.

  8. Until 2 years ago we lived in California … 500 miles away from my side of the family … 2000 miles away from my husbands. When we finally had our first child, after 10 years of trying, we made the decision to move to Texas if she was going to be an only child. My husbands family had all the young cousins closer to her age. We wanted her to have a lot of close family around her age.

    But we had twins 15 months later, so we stayed put. Then by a very strange twist of fate we were relocated to Texas.

    I had a very hard time adjusting to Texas … but the connection to all the relatives has been amazing.

    We just arrived home from the family Christmas celebration last night … it is a four hour drive that we gladly make 3 times a year. My husband and I discussed, on the drive home yesterday, how to make a move to be even closer. The grandparents fly here 3 times a year and all the cousins make a visit here at least once. But they all get together a lot and we miss most of the family stuff.

    The bottom line for me … I no longer really care so much where I am … I’ll find a way to be happy … I want my children to have strong family roots that will last them a lifetime.
    .-= M´s last blog ..Christmas Traditions =-.

  9. I would give anything to live closer to any family. We are raising our 3 boys alone and we have no help, no backup in emergencies, no date nights, and its a constant juggle. Our neighbors parents live close (both sets) and I see the dramatic difference it makes in quality of life to have extended family, siblings, cousins, grandparents, to share in the kids growing up years. After 11 years in Virginia I’m used to it but there’s no doubt we have done it alone which I guess is an accomplishment but sad in a way too.

  10. Here is an interesting twist. I do live near my folks and my mom doesn’t work. But we don’t get nearly as much support as when my inlaws come to visit (my mom does things on her schedule only). I keep thinking of moving to OH but then would I be impinging on my in-laws? My mom would be offended that we think my in-laws are more helpful but frankly THEY ARE!
    .-= Mommy, Esq.´s last blog ..Worrying Over Words =-.

  11. We live near DH’s family, but most of my family lives 4 hours away in my hometown. And DH’s family is near but not nearby, on the far outskirts of the metro area. Dh’s parents baby-sit one morning per week, and his sister comes over nearly every week for a few hours. But we don’t have formal arrangements, nor do we have any help in late afternoons or evenings. And sure, this makes me confident in my parenting abilities, but the flip side of the coin is very tarnished: DH and I don’t have any time together as a couple. I often think of moving back to my hometown. I used to think that I wouldn’t want to move, because all my friends are here, but that’s a rapidly diminishing argument. Friends are not family. I would love to be able to drop off the girls at my parents’ house for a few hours or for an evening of baby-sitting so that DH and I can go out. When my parents are visiting, they help out around the house, do chores and errands, etc. I do feel that my parents are missing out and deserve more time with their grandchildren. But then, if we moved, we would have to make more frequent trips down here to see his family and would never get to see friends.

  12. Both my parents and my husband’s are here in town and we use them ALL THE TIME! It’s awesome. If I’m sick, or even just overwhelmed I can go over to one of their houses and have some extra hands on deck, or they’ll take our older son overnight if we just need some extra rest. It’s very very nice and I am regularly thankful for their help.
    .-= Gliding through motherhood´s last blog ..Xmas day 2009 an hour at a time =-.

  13. we live 2.5 blocks away from my parents. I am so grateful for all the help!!! I am a lucky girl, and I thank God every day. It’s been tricky to navigate boundaries and establish how much help is good and how much I need to get through on my own. Family is good, even with the drama.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..The Thankgiving Rainbow =-.

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