We are really very lucky as we have all of our immediate family close by. Both of our families are within about a 10 minute drive, in fact most of hubby’s family are within a 10 minute walk! The result is that we see them all very regularly and Monkey has a lovely relationship with both sets of grandparents and all his uncles and aunts.
This is very different from my experience of family growing up. My Mum’s family lived in London, where both my parents grew up. While we all got on well we didn’t see each other anywhere near as often as Monkey sees all of his family! But I do have lots of lovely memories of days out with them, and camping with my aunt and uncle. We spent every Christmas as a family, either in London or at our house, but we were never able to pop in for a cuppa. Every visit was a big event.
My Paternal Grandfather passed away when I was very little and my Granny lived in Australia, I only met her once when she came over for my cousin’s wedding. A cousin who I think I have met twice… My Dad had siblings in the UK and Oz and some other cousins but didn’t have the best relationship with any of them so we really didn’t know them at all. I barely ever even spoke to my “Aussie Gran.” For years I thought she was sending us birthday presents but it turns out it was my lovely mum who bought them the whole time! My Dad has been gone for 7 1/2 years and although my older brother spoke to them shortly after his death, we haven’t heard anything from them for several years.
I remember friends at school who had lots of cousins and they were all so close. I had friends who could pop round to grandparents houses after school, and it just felt really different to what I knew of family. I’m not trying to say I had a terrible childhood because of this, of course I didn’t, I didn’t know any different and my Mum, my Brothers and I are incredibly close. My lovely Aunty Maggie is still in South London but we try and catch up every couple of months.
There has been times in the past where I have thought about moving away from home. I travelled the world and talked with various friends about living in London, or even emigrating. But, after my Mum survived Breast Cancer the year after my dad died, my heart was never really sold on the idea of leaving my family behind again.
I’m obviously incredibly glad that I stayed, as I met my lovely Hubby who is definitely a family man and he and his family are all incredibly close. I know different things work for different families and I’m not saying this way is better than any other, but it works for us. Some families have little choice in whether they are able to live close to relatives, and distance (or proximity) isn’t the only factor for the closeness of a family. I know of other families with relatives close by who aren’t close at all. Some families don’t get on and don’t want to live close to each other. Different strokes for different folks as they say!
I’m not at all saying one is any better than another. I’m just so glad that Monkey is lucky enough to have such doting family members around him, they all truly adore him and it is lovely to see him interacting with all of them. Hopefully one day he will have some cousins too, though we will see if/when that happens! In the meantime, I am just hugely grateful for all of our family, on both sides and all of the lovely times we share together.