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.

Hubby's side of the family

Hubby’s side of the family

My Family at my Mum & Step-dad's Wedding in September 2012

My Family at my Mum & Step-dad’s Wedding in September 2012

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.  

A family picnic for my grandparents Gold Wedding Anniversary

A family picnic for my grandparents Gold Wedding Anniversary in 1991

We always spent Christmas together. This was 1994

Christmas 1994, I was 11 and having a cheeky sip of wine, only lambrusco though! 🙂

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.

Aussie Gran with my parents, the one time I met her!

Aussie Gran with my parents, the one time I met her!

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.

Having lots of fun and cuddles with his family

Monkey having fun and cuddles with lots of his lovely family

The Reading Residence

43 thoughts on “Family

  1. Ah! Monkey really is the ‘special’ one being the first child of the next generation! I remember when my niece was born 15 years ago – it was so exciting – even to me! I was completely blown away by the fact that, after nearly 30 years there was going to be a new member of our family! Such a shame that you have parts of your family you never got to know. But as you say, you never really knew any different and at least now you have lots of lovely family nice and close by! X #ThemeGame

    • oh he is, and by special, read ‘spoilt’ haha it is lovely for him though 🙂 Yeah it is a shame, but it’s all that we knew so it didn’t feel that weird! I love the fact that we have everyone so close now though xx

  2. You know how to make your mother cry! It is wonderful being so close to you. I used to envy friends who had parents close by it would have been lovely for you to have grandparents close by. Rob and I adore our time with Leo and look forward to lots more time with him.

  3. I think it’s lovely if you’re able to live close by and have a good relationship. We lived hundreds of miles away from my family so visits were every so often. They were still very special but not all the time. My children see their grandparents a lot and their auntie and uncle quite a bit too and it’s lovely to see the closeness. Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame

  4. Lovely photos Caroline – Monkey will grow up enjoying his extended family so much! We are currently on hols with my parents and sisters and little niece and watching the 2 cousins playing is just sooooo adorable. 🙂 #TheThemeGame

  5. This is such a lovely post, Caroline. Like you, our families are close, both in proximity and our relationships, and I do love to see my two getting on so well with their families, and playing with their cousins. I’ve also toyed with moving away, but I just can’t leave our families, and I can’t imagine anywhere being better for the kids, as they adore seeing everyone so much. Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame x

    • Thanks Jocelyn. It’s amazing how important having family close to you feels all the more important when you have little ones. We are lucky that we can all be so close to each other! xx

  6. Aww, so lovely Caroline, and all your photos are fab! The 90’s Christmas Day one really made me smile – it seems like yesterday but it all looks so retro!! We live close by to both sets of family too, and I do feel so fortunate. Mr M and I had always considered a year abroad, but I think ultimately the pull of family will keep us right here. Loved reading this! Xx

    • Thank you! It’s crazy how the 90’s don’t seem that long ago when sadly they really were! We are definitely the lucky ones having family close by! Thank you, glad you enjoyed it 🙂 xx

  7. Wow that is fantastic you have so many family members close by. I would do anything to have that especially now that I have kids. Growing up with family all around me was amazing. I had aunts, uncles, cousins around all the time not to mention a million siblings so thinking of my kids and the fact they won’t have any of that Mr P family is in Ireland and mine is west coast America makes me sad. I am so happy happy that you have that. It’s such a blessing. Love all the photos too! Lovely family. Thank you for sharing this post. I love seeing great families together. #sharewithme

    • Thank you, we really are so lucky, especially Monkey! It must be so hard for you not having your families around, but try not to be too sad about it for your kiddies, they won’t know any different and from your pictures you guys are like my parents and you have lots of friends around you who fill the gaps a bit. Technology is so much more advanced these days too so there’s lots of ways of staying in touch without being physically close. CLoseness isn’t only about proximity. Thank you though, I am happy we are lucky enough to have all of our family so close! xx

  8. Monkey is so lucky. It must be lovely having family close by. We don’t have that so much, but the small family we have makes up for it. Perhaps it’s not about how many of you there are as such, but the bond that you have Zx

    • I think you are absolutely right, you could be a huge family but not be close at all. Quality over quantity anyday 🙂 xx

  9. aww these photos are lovely my family like yours is all very close I feel very blessed because not everyone is so lucky its great to feel a strong family bond #sharewithme

    • Thank you, we really are the lucky ones, not everyone has family so close or that they get on so well with! xx

  10. What a lovely post, I love that my family are all really close too, it’s something that’s very important to me 🙂 sounds like your little Monkey is a very loved and lucky boy xx #sharewithme

  11. I think its really important to have a good relationship with your family. My children see their Grandparents regularly and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lovely post x

  12. what a lovely post! Family relationships are always such a funny thing, its amazing how many different situations there are with different families and how sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!
    Its lovely that your little monkey has family close by, its something that makes me feel sad about living away from our families however like you mentioned when you do see family that lives far away its always a big event and hopefully something that will give lots of great memories!! x

    • Thank you, it must be hard sometimes to be far away from family, but then it makes it all the more special when you do see them, and technology is so much better these days it is easier to share words and pictures than when we were kids. Plus your littlie won’t know any different and will enjoy seeing them whenever he gets the chance to 🙂 xx

  13. A lovely post! I too live within 5 minutes walk from all my family. I actually live at the top of my mums road. It is so nice you get to see your family reguarly #sharewithme

  14. I so envy you for having your family near. I would give anything to be home with my mother now & i feel that I will be better if she is near. This post makes me miss my family more. Thanks for sharing. #sharewithme

    • Aww sorry to make you miss your mum, must be hard to be away from your mum when you’d love to be closed! xx

  15. Lovely post! Both of our parents are within a 5 min drive from us and I love it. It’s great being able to poo to my mums for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon and O is completely spoilt rotten by his grandparents!

    Your Christmas Day 1994 outfit made me laugh. I’m pretty sure I had almost the exact same one, complete with floppy hat. So cool! x

  16. Ah what a lovely post. My family are all over the place and I have a sister in Australia, but my husband’s family live only 10 mins drive away. Its nice to see them as much as we do, but its also nice to visit my parents as its like a little break away.
    x x

  17. Aww loved this post. Its so great that you have fmaily members all so close by! Our family used to be like that many, many moons ago! Then they scattered across countries and continents! But I do remember what it was like, amazing times! Great photos too! #sharewithme

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