I love where we live, but it's biggest downfall is that its not near any of our family. Our nearest relative is five hours and an expensive ferry ride away. While I love my family, this distance never bothered me too much until I had kids. Going home twice a year, spending four or five days with my family at a stretch and keeping in touch throughout the rest of the year via phone and email was working for me. It wasn't ideal, but it was a sacrifice worth making to live in my favorite city. However, throw two kids into the mix and I start to get wistful about what my life would be like if my mom lived down the street.
Most of our friends here are surrounded by family and I have to admit that I'm jealous. The ability to drop your kids off with their grandparents for an afternoon is something I can only day dream about. I imagine calling up my sister and having her ask why I sound so stressed and then offering to come over to entertain the kids in exchange for free dinner. That's my fantasy these days, folks! I haven't even gotten to the free day care. What would I do if one of my closest relatives offered to watch the kids for free so I could go back to work a few days a week? Run to the nearest phone and ask my old boss for a job. That's called having your cake and eating it too in my world.
While free day care and babysitting would be a dream come true, what bothers me the most is worrying that my kids are growing up without really getting to know their grandparents and cousins. EC asks about her grandparents every other day. She wants to know where they live and when she'll see them. Suddenly, twice a year visits seem inadequate. And this past year, our finances were tight and we didn't even get to visit that many times. I have such fond memories of spending time with my grandparents at least weekly when I was young. And I wish that for my kids. G grew up far away from his relatives and he still talks about how wonderful it was to visit his grandparents every summer. He was close to them despite the distance - in fact, LR is named after his grandmother. I can only hope that the kids will be able to form these attachments regardless of the distance. And that all the diversity and experiences that the city has to offer can make up for the lack of cousins living in the next town.