The Value of Nearby Family

A few weeks ago I was at the park with my son, who had found a little girl to play with. The little girl’s grandmother was watching and playing with her, and she graciously extended the play to my son as well. Once I finished checking my email (am I the only one who takes my kid to the park for that reason?) I joined them, and had a fun conversation with the grandmother while the kids played. She and her husband were visiting from a Sequim, a small town a few hours away, where they had retired. Their visit was just to watch their granddaughter for the day while her mother was in labor.

I really felt it, right then. The poignant reminder of how far away my own family is (in-laws too!) stung, as I reflected on the challenge I’ll have when I have another baby, God willing. Will anyone be able to come watch Zaki while I’m in labor?

That’s an isolated but extremely important occasion when family help is needed. I also miss them when I want just a date with my husband. I realize how often my own parents watch my nieces and nephews, or even my siblings watch each other’s kids. In my husband’s family too, everyone chips in to help with the kids.

Until having a child of my own, I didn’t realize what a blessing it is to have family nearby. In fact, even a few hours away (by car) can be a blessing, if they can come even for a rare occasion. But my family is on the other side of the country, and my husband’s is on the other side of the planet (literally–a 12-hr time zone difference!)

We split up families for school and jobs, but the value of staying near family is something also to consider when deciding where to settle. It’s relatively easy to visit for holidays and whatnot, but even though I couldn’t be with my family this Thanksgiving, it’s not when I missed them the most. In fact, I just miss them all the time.