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.
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…
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?