Another blogger posed this question recently which got me thinking, how close is too close?
How close is living too close to family. Right now my husband, three children, and I live 1700 miles from most of our family. To many people this would be all too far. For me right now, I think it is perfect! Don't get me wrong I love both of our families and miss them (and my friends back home in Colorado) dearly.
I think how close is too close depends upon the point you are in your life and your past. I moved to Colorado with my mom, dad, and sister when I was 10. We left behind most of our family in California, with a few spread out across the country and world, to move to a place where we knew no one. My parents weren't crazy they had wanted desperately to buy a home but homes in Southern California were terribly inflated and they knew they could never catch up. My aunt, uncle, and cousins had lived in the town we moved to previously but a job transfer took them elsewhere a few years prior. My parents never made a lot of money when I was growing up. Needless to say we didn't go visit family during the holidays, we couldn't afford it. As I got older I longed for the big, happy family experience.
Then I met my husband. He lived in Colorado his entire life except his time in the Navy. Every member of his family (parents, sibling, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) all lived within an hour and half of each other and not a single person had moved out of state. Crazy! I thought this would be fabulous, a big, happy family to celebrate and spend time with. After some time I realized this was not how his family worked. His dad's side of the family did family dinners, which I really enjoyed but over time his grandma became ill and everyone got busier and busier and the dinners became almost nonexistent. Hubby's mom side of the family was huge but not tight knit like I expected. We were lucky if we saw them 3 times a year at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July. Everyone was nice and friendly but they did not have the close relationships I was expecting.
I had always wanted to move. Before I met my husband I was planning to go to law school in San Diego. I LOVE San Diego! The beach, plus moderate weather, separate from the sprawl called Los Angeles, sounds like paradise to me. Hubby graduated with his degree in Mechanical Engineering last December. He started looking for jobs months before but this was just as the economy was beginning to nose dive. He had an interview in Avon, Colorado, this beautiful mountain ski town. We researched and dreamed how we could create a life there. They made him an offer but it was almost $15,000 per year less than he makes now and the cost of living is more than twice the cost of living as Denver, ouch! Hubby regretfully turned down the offer. He continued looking and continued hoping his temp job at Ball Corporation would offer him a full-time position. The next interview he got was from a company in Honolulu, HI. Also a very high cost of living but living in paradise had its draws. I don't think hubby was that interested since I thought he could've talked himself up more during the interview. He was sure they were going to make him an offer but they respectfully declined. Next he heard from his friend from the Navy that if he wanted to move to Baltimore he could have a job in a heartbeat. He went on the interview swearing he would never live on the East coast again but the money was good for an entry level position and the economy was tanking. I was not comfortable waiting around for his temp job to end and for us to be without any household income. I thought it worked out as it did because it was meant to be. After prayerful consideration he accepted the position.
Now we are 1700 miles away from most of our family and approaching our first Christmas that will be just the 5 of us. I am ok with this. Life is so much simpler when it can be just lived as the five of us. We have plenty of obligations but all of our choosing. We have got to explore a part of the country I had never even visited. We have made new friends, found a new home, and I have loved almost every minute of it.
Do I feel sad when I think how far away everyone is? Yes! Times like last weekend when it was my best friend's baby shower or since hubby's mom is ill and we would want to be by her side or even silly things like when I recall the relationship between the boy I used to watch and B. But I know that time in my life has past. We really have no reason to live in that Southeastern suburb of Denver again. Frankly we were an hour from anyone we knew there but ended up there simply because my FIL had a house we could rent. Do I rule out moving back to Colorado or living close to family again? No, of course not! Is moving back to Colorado something I want now? No, not at all. I am happy here in Baltimore just being the five of us, learning, and growing both as a person and a family. Maybe we will live out or days here, maybe not. Maybe a great opportunity will present itself in San Diego or Colorado or Seattle for that matter, at some point in the future. I am not too afraid of change to embrace a good opportunity. I believe life is about experiences. I am happy I am able to have this experience now as a young wife and mother and I know I will be stronger, and greater because of it.
Next time, I wish my mom still lived down the street so I could stop by and just say hi or she could come watch the kids so we could go out, I will just think, "maybe someday."