Ready or Not

I am listening to Loverpants talk over the phone with one of his parents as to how to set up video chat on Gmail. Logging on to the website alone has taken minutes. Many minutes. His tone is growing frustrated and yet not resigned because at the end of this conversation, we will hopefully be able to see his folks on our little laptop screen and they us, coming to us live, from Michigan, in living color.

A part of me feels great about this connection.

Another part of me wonders if we are just biding our time.

I started out the week feeling heart-heavy miserable about leaving my family in Ohio. About leaving the Mid-West in general and trekking back to the land of no family, to overpriced housing, to Masshole driving, to a place where we are effectively freaks for attending church more than once a year.

I felt disgruntled about Why We Are Still Here for a good portion of the week.

I felt it when I suddenly had to celebrate Take Your Toddler to Work day after friends were running way late to watch Baby Girl and I had to bundle her in monkey footsie pajamas and attempt to teach a 4 hour composition class with her crawling through my legs. It eventually worked out, but I was panic-stricken for a good hour.
I felt it this question pecking away at me a million times since we’ve returned to our home with spotty heat vents and one mysteriously leaking faucet and the mice that always flirt with our sense of nighttime peace.

But then I listen in on this phone conversation between Loverpants and his parent and I wonder, “Are we ready to live closer? Or is it already too late?”

I’m not one to think it’s ever too late to do most anything, but we’ve been hacking it on our own, Loverpants and I, for over ten years. We made it through the first two years of our daughter’s life without much parental interference, and now we’re about to ride further on this continuum with another little passenger. We’re pretty untethered here, and, frankly, it’s all we know. Our weekends are claimed by church and work, and while sometimes we feel as though we don’t choose those claims on our time, we ultimately do. We’ve gotten to choose so much without the input of our families. Where we live, where we attend church, where we work, what we do, when and to where we travel, and whether or not to take the call when we see “Mom-Cell Phone” on our mobile screens.

Moving Back Home would most likely mean a move to Michigan. Loverpants’ parents could use our help and we could use theirs. Their lifestyle is more aligned with our own and I absolutely love the town in which they live – a diverse university town with great parks and a more progressive appointment than most mitten state villes I’ve known.

But I just wonder if we have already waited too long to try and graft our family to theirs in a way that is more permanent and in-your-face. We are such classic firstborns, Loverpants and I. We’re going to figure it all out by ourselves, thank you, and so what if there’s no roadmap. Will we be quick to resist advice, support? Will we expect too much of family? Will they expect too much of us? Will visits no longer seem special and will holidays be times when we feel stuck rather than gearing up for eatfests and lovefests and novelty gold?

I know there are no hard and fast answers, and this is all a cost-benefits analysis when it comes down to it.  Is what we would sacrifice in our independence be rewarded doubly by what we gain in family support, close in proximity?  That’s what I want to know now before the For Sale sign is up, before the friends we have made – the precious friends we have made here – are mere penpals, or the people we now visit come holiday breaks.

Your thoughts?

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  • This is a “dilly-of-a-pickle-of-a-jam” to quote Ned Flanders. Where do we want to be? Where do we want our kids to grow up? Do we want to be near our family? A ski mountain? An airport? Good medical care? Certain types of schools? It’s all soooo confusing and something I struggle with regularly. I have total faith that whatever decision you (or I, or that person over there, etc) make if we do it with a combination of logic, intuition, and faith it will be the right thing at that time. xoxox-ks

  • Iona

    I too ponder this on a quite regular basis….more depending on how phone calls to NY from CA go, or on how my job seems in the moment, less depending on how time with my husbands family in CA is going and on spending time with precious friends and on how my job seems in the moment. I am starting to come to the realization that the mere thought of moving my family can be overwhelming, even if the “end result” would be just wonderful. How do you make these decisions? How do you decide? It’s so complicated. And, my usual “gut instinct” that I rely on heavily (a la the Holy Spirit hard at work) has yet to make it crystal clear, making the move seem worth it, and the packing and the saying good-bye. Perhaps one day though it will be clear? Prayers as you continue to discern and if you find out the secret – do let me know!

  • desh

    Mega tough decisions friend. When I thought my job was going away and my guy still didn’t have a job, we considered a mega move to GA as there would have been a job waiting for me there. Ultimately, we decided to nix that decision because all of our family is here where we currently are. And, I still have a job, and now that I see what my job would have been in GA, I SOOOO don’t regret saying no. Plus the whole family gets to be around for this little guy’s life. Yes, it would have been cheaper than where we are at now, but family won the decision, even if it meant having little to no income at the time. Hang in there, I’ll be prayin for you 🙂

  • Melissa Booflies

    You’re right in that there are no hard and fast answers! It’s a tough decision to make. But one thing I do know is that even if you make a Move A… if it doesn’t work… Move B is ALWAYS POSSIBLE (as learned by JM’s and my early marriage move to Calgary and then back to a different part of BC… ahh fun times those two major moves in 8 months were).

    Currently we are in the same city as my folks. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. We don’t lean on them for help with every little thing… and they don’t intrude on activities that they know are just for JM, me, and the girls. But we have each other. We have each other for lazy afternoon hang out time when we all get to spend time with each other and take turns watching my two lil monkeys. JM and I get to go on dates. My parents have someone to show them how to use an iPod or to explain how to download something. We’ve been here for three years and it’s just starting to feel like we’re figuring the relationship out. But then I remember that no relationship is static… they constantly change and evolve. And if you want to take charge of it… those changes can be positive and work well for all involved. Oh… and we’re re-thinking how we do holidays (’cause you’re right… not as special when you see each other a lot)…but are excited about that. New traditions to be started? Bring it on!

    Be prayerful on this 🙂 And I hope you get peace on a decision either way!

  • Vicki A.

    I read your blog occasionally and this is definitely one I can relate to. I don’t live near my family and at times desperately crave those moments that others seem to take for granted. To have my mom just show up at my front door is something I long for. I don’t have children but if I did, I think it would be so hard to live so far from my parents, as I think the grandparent role is one of the most important relationships for a child to experience. But you have a great point, what happens when you live near your family and those moments of door knocking turn into “ugh, it’s mom again.” I really don’t know what to tell you but I definitely feel your struggle. It’s such a tough decision and I wish you strength to figure it all out. Good luck with this one. It’s a really tough call.