All of our extended family lives a few thousand miles […]
All of our extended family lives a few thousand miles away from where we live, so visits are rather infrequent. We long for time to be together with those members of our extended family. We deeply desire that our kids could grow up with many memories of their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. But those memories have been hard to make over the past few years.
We recently scraped up what money we could to see if a visit to our extended family was even possible. We concluded that we could afford for three of our family members to travel to the West Coast and spend a couple weeks with family. This was a bittersweet conclusion.
On the one hand, it’s super exciting to go see our family members who we see so infrequently. On the other hand, this will mean that our nuclear family will have to be torn apart for a time. We place extremely high value on togetherness, so being apart is particularly painful. However, it is sometimes necessary to set aside one value in order to pursue another.
In this case, we had to override our value on togetherness in order to pursue our value of building relationships with our extended family. So, my two oldest children and I said goodbye to mom and the three younger children and hopped on a plane to the great Northwest.
We’ve been having some great times with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on our trip. But the joy is always tempered by our longings to be back at home with mom and the toddlers and the baby. I wouldn’t subject myself or my wife and kids to the torture of separation if I didn’t believe that it was valuable. While it most certainly is worth it, it’s still hard.
We are all missing our little guy intensely. We know we are missing out on his new growth and developmental milestones while we are away. We console ourselves with the thought that we’ll get caught up on all of his new tricks when we get back home. However, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we have been able to send pictures back and forth and even do some video chatting.
I cannot wait to be reunited to my wife and youngest children. But until we return, I am very much enjoying the time we are spending with some of our other family members. Our trip to the Northwest is not merely about fun and games. Rather, it is a time for us to be intentional about building relationships with our extended family.
I must admit that I envy those families who have most or all of their relatives in close proximity to one another. For them, togetherness with their nuclear family and their extended family is not an either/or proposition. I do not know if that will ever be our situation, but I hope it will be some day.