Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We've gotta get out of here.

Vegas, that is. June marks five years in Sin City, and since we just bought a house here a year ago I guess it'll be at least a few more years before we leave. It's not really that bad, but we're starting to feel the effects of being so far away from family. Last week I spent the weekend in Denver with my sisters and aunts and cousins, and this weekend my mom was in town from Alaska. It was almost like old times, only it required plane trips and money and hotels and lots of text messaging.

Don't get me wrong -- I have a good circle of friends here in Vegas. J knows lots of people. But, it's not the same. J doesn't talk about our friends the way he talks about his family, even though he only sees the fam a few times a year. This morning he woke up looking for Granny (my mom insists on being called Granny), and then he solemnly told me, "Granny got on the plane and went to Laska. I wanna go too." Other times he'll randomly ask, "Amember when Auntie B was here? And we ate a turkey?" or point out to me that his Elmo jacket came from Auntie B and his Walkin' Talkin' Lightning McQueen came from Auntie D. Somehow he knows that those names are a little more special--more important--to Mommy than those of our Vegas friends.

When we first moved to Vegas, it was just me, TH, and Yoda. We had a great time. Lots of hanging out on the Strip at nightclubs, sleeping in until 11am on our days off, eating at cool restaurants. It really was a grown-up's playground. At first, it was kind of cool to be away from family for awhile, just the two of us against the world. Of course having J changed things a little bit. Suddenly we realized that we didn't know anyone with kids. We didn't know anyone who had experience looking for daycares or preschools in this area. After the first ten days when my mom and sisters came to visit, we had no help. None. I called my twin sister EVERY DAY for the first six weeks to talk/complain/freak out about the baby. I'm sure she got sick of it, and on many occasions, she would say, "If you still lived here I could just come over and show you how I do it" or "It's too bad you're so far away, it sounds like you need a break from the baby and I would come get him in a heartbeat."

Now that J is older, it's not the help that I miss so much (although that would be nice) but the feeling that he knows his family. He's missing out on alot of the things that were great about my own childhood -- hanging out with cousins, spending the night at Grandma's, going on family trips, barbecues, Christmas dinners, etc. And we're missing out on them. When I saw my niece and nephew last week I couldn't believe these were the same kids. I was there when they were both born, yet in the past five years I've only seen them...maybe 5 or 6 times. In person, anyway.

What to do, what to do....we're at a crossroads, where we've put down enough roots that leaving Vegas won't exactly be simple, but the older we get and the older J gets the passing of time becomes more acute and we have conversation after conversation about how we can get back to Denver. The reality? We probably can't get out of here for at least 3 more years. Thank God for email, phones, and blogs.


Steph said...

This has been our life for the last 7 years- moving from place to place, meeting nice people, but never close to family. It sucks in a lot of ways, although it's also great in a lot of ways too. Right now I'm also in a 'let's move close to family' mode, but I am not sure when or if that will ever happen.

Mel said...

We moved from Denver to Houston to get closer to family (within a reasonable driving distance), but I gotta say that I liked living in Denver better. Although I prefer a southern climate so it is a toss up. But there are things I really miss about Denver, even though we were so far from family there.

Joanna said...

My mom, who lived about 45 minutes away, moved right around the corner when Michael was born. It has really made a huge difference for us since she does daycare for us and loves Michael beyond words.

However, the rest of my family all lives pretty close too but I really don't see them all that often. Obviously more than you see your family, but they live close enough that I would think we would get together more than we do.

Three years isn't that long. Most children don't remember much of the first three or four years of life, so maybe you could get around your family in a few years just when J is primed to remember all the good times with them.

LauraC said...

Jon and I talk about this all the time, but there's no solution for us. We're NOT moving to Fargo and we're not moving to Florida. But it would be so nice for our kids to grow up with family.

And OMG, I saw your pics on Lesley's blog and they are AMAZING!!!!!! You need to buy me a drink someday for that pic of J at the pond with his dad :)

Julie said...

I can really relate to this post. After Lana was born we moved across the country where we knew no one and had no help or friends even. Its tough. Not having family close by is really hard, not just for the help, but for the relationships. Its so hard to have phone relationships with your closest loved ones.