Craig and I are the outcasts, the rebels, of our families.
Craig's parents and siblings all live in the same state. While it requires a 6 hour drive (or a quick flight) for them all to be together, it happens. It happens for holidays and birthdays and long weekends.
My family are split between two states, but are all within 1.5 hours of each other. They travel amongst each others homes on a regular basis.
And here we sit. 1500 miles from our nearest relatives.
On more than one occasion we've found out several months after the fact that someone moved or was in the hospital or took a new job. Everyone assumes that someone else told us. Then we feel like jerks for not knowing what goes on in the families.
We have very quiet holidays. There is no big family get-together for Christmas or Easter or Mothers Day. Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day don't feel special at all--more like an extra Saturday. It's usually just us, hanging out at home, barbecuing.
We have no grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins to fall back on. No where to drop the kids for an occasional night out (or, dare I dream, a weekend away). No one to help us cover double or triple scheduling. In fact, it's not uncommon for our children to go a year without seeing one (or more) of their grandparents--often it stretches close to two years.
I know there are lots and lots of people in the same situation. But this isn't how we grew up or what we would wish for our kids. This would not be our first choice.
We both grew up surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. Every holiday, birthday or special occasion was an opportunity to gather. Our extended family attended our sporting events, concerts, baptisms. There was always someone around to fill in the gaps.
The thing that really gets me--we could (in theory) live anywhere. Craig works from home. His employer doesn't care where he lives. And I'm afraid we're not taking advantage of that opportunity. I'm afraid that by the time we can sell our house he'll have moved on to a new job that requires us to live at a specific location. And we will have missed those years when we could've been near family. That's why it hurts so much.