We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village.” In regards to raising a child, it is certainly a true adage. Why then, oh why, do so many of us move away from our “village?” What is it about American culture that makes us think a job or the price of real estate is more important than familial ties? I’m not saying those things aren’t important, but are they the priority? Really? There is a type of impetus in the American youth to venture far away. Cross country to college. Job searching across the nation. I’m certainly not judging, because what did I do? I grew up in New Jersey, but bought a home in Florida. It was before I was married and had O. My rationale was that I was only 2 hours by plane. And I certainly did spend quite a lot of time up North with my family. But I was quite happy with my little life I created there all on my own. But after having O, I acquired a totally different perspective on things.
If it hadn’t been for my husband, I don’t know that we would have moved back North when we did. Luckily, he had the wisdom and foresight (and job offer) to see the importance of being close to family and the value of raising O somewhere steeped in history. We are not in New Jersey near my family, but at least we are a short distance from my husband’s. And the drive to NJ is about 5 hours, making it do-able. I am so grateful for being close to his tribe, but I have to tell you, the older I get, the more I miss my side of the family. I miss the closeness I remember. I miss my brothers and my parents. I miss a lot of things that used to be. I think that might be something that comes with age.
Why don’t families just live all together like they do in some other countries. In European and South American countries you can have three generations living under the same roof. Talk about a village! Why is that concept so unacceptable to main stream America these days? Why are we so eager to be separate? Do we feel we will lose our independence if we combine our efforts? It doesn’t have to cramp our style. Personally I think the pros far out weigh the cons.
My Mother-in-law is selling her house and while she looks for another, she will be staying with us. I’m actually busting with excitement about it. How wonderful for little O! How wonderful for all of us! I would love it if she just decided to stay indefinitely. Why go buying another house when we have enough room for all of us? She is worried she will be imposing on us, but nothing could be further from the truth. But she is still young, vibrant and beautiful. If my psychic friend is right, she will be meeting someone special this summer. She obviously wants SOME privacy. But in truth, nothing would make me happier than having a house full of loved ones.
Perhaps I am an oddball. So be it. But what I do know for sure is the number of people who love and watch over my son can never be too many. It makes me sad that I have a niece and 2 nephews I hardly know. I have a brother who’s day to day life is more unknown to me than the life of my new mommy friend I just met. It’s unsettling. And it’s all due to distance. Let’s face it, family takes effort. And any long distance relationship takes uber effort. A long distance family relationship where everyone is busy busy? You’re lucky if you talk twice a year. It’s really sad.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t be close with family just because you live far from each other. But effort needs to be given. And it needs to be reciprocated. Alternately, you can live in the next town and never see your clan. Which sadly is the case for many. It is perplexing to me, but I suppose family stuff can be complicated. I wonder how many of us, who have moved away from our families, ask ourselves, “Where is my village?” Where is our support system? Where are the connections to family I want for my child? Well, I can tell you, I am grateful for our proximity to our family. And equally grateful for the effort made by family who remain a daily part of my life despite any distance. One of the deepest connections I have is with my cousin who lives in NJ. I guess that proves that your village can span the miles if you want it to.
Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a Mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading! Xo