Sunday, August 10, 2014

Family: There is No Other Way to Us

I can't believe we're coming up on the last week of summer vacation. We had a little freak out stress moment at the beginning of the summer with Nate's summer income, but it resolved itself in a few days later  so other than that it's been a really great summer. Nate worked half days for three weeks and I averaged about two full days of work a week so pretty much worked part time the whole summer. But it was still down time compared to the busy work schedule of the school year. And like always we got in lots of family time.

One of the biggest contributors to my personal self doubt on this road of parenthood is raising our kids so far from family. We were not people that moved far away from our families because we hated them. I know some just want to escape, but that was not us.  Being far from family I don't think ever really bothered either of us much before we had kids, but now that we do it's definitely on our mind at times. One of the things I told myself a long time ago when we had kids and deciding to stay where we are- six hours from his family and eighteen from mine- was that seeing our families would always be one of our top priorities.

I don't know how many people like to tell me "oh, we keep wondering when you'll quit coming home to visit so much", "don't you want to spend your time off at your own home", "it's going to get harder and harder to come back home when the kids get older", "it's too expense to make it home we understand." I know everyone means well, but there really isn't anything that's more important to me. I don't think to Nathan either.

We probably spend  a good $1200-$1800 a year making trips to see our families. So, yes, it is expensive. Is it worth it? You bet. Our kids will have plenty of childhood memories full of moments with their cousins, visiting their grandparents' houses, and days spent with their aunties (Nate and I only have sisters). We both grew up in small towns, yet one of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how different places can be from one another. The people are different, the way of thinking is different, the values are different, the lifestyles are different, and my children will be exposed to those three places and their differences over and over again throughout their childhood. I think it's important for them to see life outside the one bubble they live in. They will have childhood memories that are rooted in three different places.

Not only that but as I've visited with Nate's grandma and her sisters and then his dad's parents this past weekend, and I remembered similar discussions with my mom's dad and now even my dad, I was reminded of how those talks around the dining room table or on the back porch is where they will sit and hear the best stories ever. There are always the storytellers in every family. The ones who take us back in time and retell the stories of their life in a different time and place. I think as my girls get older they will come to treasure those precious storytelling moments with their grandparents the same way I do.

 I see so many families that as the kids grow up and move away that lose touch with their siblings, don't see their aging grandparents like they should, maybe even their aging parents, or even some that have used the word "disowned" to describe their tattered family relationships.  How many use that word to describe family relationships is a little disturbing to me even though I have my own experience with it. I'm sure we could always do better than what we do. We definitely need to work on picking up the phone to call more, especially our grandparents, but we try to see everyone at least twice a year.

But either way I refuse to let distance, money, and time be an excuse for not seeing our families as much as we possibly can. Even though our families are all ready to support us with an excuse because of time or money, I promised myself a long time ago for them and for my kids I would make it work.

Not only do I want my kids to have these deep rooted relationships with their cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, but one day they too will grow up. I'll never forget sitting in the guest room with Nate, holding my first newborn baby, and with all those new mom hormones raging I started crying, saying how, "One day my baby (Averi at the time) was going to grow up and move away from us just like I moved away and just like my mother before me moved away." One day when my babies grow up if they're anything like their mother and father they too will want to spread their wings and see what else the world has to offered.  Maybe they'll come back permanently, but if they don't I don't want us to just be forgotten old people. Our values are so often a reflection of what we're taught and for them I want it so embedded it them that they don't know any other way to live because it's what was modeled to them their whole childhood. Family comes first-you make the time, you make it happen.

For us that's the way it will always be.


My book, Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas, for mothers of any age (suggested by an older reader's feedback) focuses on women today accepting who they are. It examines how our 21st century digital world shapes our perceptions and expectations of our capabilities as mothers, wives, employers, and women. It will leave you with a humorous and inspirational look at the individual journey of motherhood that takes each of us from the girl we were to the woman we become. The book is also now available on the Amazon kindle for $3.99 and the Barnes and Noble Nook for $4.99.


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