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.