Far away family and friends

by Ginger on July 24, 2009

in Family, Mom Thoughts, Oh Baby!

Over the years, I’ve moved a decent amount. Not just within a city (though I’ve done that too), but big giant moves that have taken me hundreds or thousands of miles away from family and friends. I’m proud of every single one of those moves I’ve done as an adult, since they’ve given me exposure to new cultures and ideas and thoughts. Those moves have really shaped who I am, my ideas on people and religion and politics and a whole lot of other things, and I wouldn’t change those experiences for the world.

But, of course, there is a downside to all those moves–the being away from family and friends. See, I’m not a really outgoing person in real life. In fact, I would go so far as to label myself shy (with strangers)…maybe introverted is a better term. Anyway, because of this, I don’t make friends very easily. I’ve never been one who has loads of friends wherever I go, or someone who can talk to anyone in the room (that’s my husband, the social butterfly). So I often find myself surrounded by lots of acquaintances, but few friends. And as I’ve moved around the country, it’s become even more pronounced when I do leave my friends behind.

When I got married, there was no bachelorette party for me. My bridesmaids were scattered across the globe (California, Texas, and Scotland), with a lot of my close friends & cousins back in Arizona, Texas or Oklahoma. Me being in New York made the logistics of a bachelorette party pretty much impossible. It was no big deal, but definitely one of those occasions where my geography paired with my lack of friend making came into play.

I’m finding the same thing with this pregnancy. My mom is in Texas, so she hasn’t been able to be as involved in this pregnancy as either of us would have liked. I call her a lot, and we’ve found this online video service that helps, but it kind of sucks not having her close by for all this. Sometimes a grown woman still needs her mom, you know? Particularly when she’s about to have her first baby.

The ladies here at my work threw me a small baby shower yesterday, which was super sweet. As we were sitting there chatting, one of the ladies asked, “So how many other showers are you having?” And I said, “Oh, this is the only one.” She clearly didn’t believe me. But when your family and friends are spread out across at least 7 states  and you don’t have a lot of female friends locally (we hang with more guys than girls out here), that becomes the reality. Like the bachelorette thing, it’s not a big deal–a shower isn’t a requirement for having a kid–but it does remind me how far away everyone is. I often wonder how different this pregnancy process would have been, or how I would have felt about it, had I had that circle of females around me that I grew up with, or those friends around me that I’ve since moved away from.

It also makes me sad when I think that, unlike me, my kid is going to grow up without a million family members around. I grew up with aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents a pretty constant thing in my life. I remember lots of weekends staying with aunts & uncles, or weeks at my grandmothers, or hanging after school with cousins. I remember cutting one cousin’s hair when she was maybe 6 (oh did I get in trouble for that one), or running away “from home” with another cousin (we got in a lot of trouble for that one too), or playing out in the desert with yet another cousin. I always knew I could go to my aunts and uncles for help–they were practically second (and third, and fourth) sets of parents because they were such a part of my life. My kid won’t have those family relationships the same way because we’re so far away from everyone. There’s something a little heartbreaking about that. (Plus, no family around means no free babysitting, boo! LOL).

This post turned very down, which wasn’t really my intention. This isn’t a poor me thing–like I said, I treasure the moves I’ve made, and to be honest, I love love love where we live, and I wouldn’t do any of it differently if given the chance. But the reality of it is that every choice in life has consequences both positive and negative. And one negative consequence of all the positive moves we’ve made is the distance between me and all these people from my life.

Bluebelle July 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Ahh that must be hard sometimes, especially being far from your mum. I was lucky enough to get married right at the end of uni so I had a lot of girlfriends close by (it was just before we all scattered) and some of my school friends even made the journey. Lovely of your work colleagues to throw you a little shower though!

Ali July 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I hear you. Though I don’t have a lot of family that I’m close to, the worst part about moving from New York to California was leaving my grandma. She visits at least once a year, but it’s definitely not the same as being 10 minutes away from her (like we used to be).

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