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Thursday, May 12, 2005

I've got my village, but where's my family?

It's the people in your life that make life worth living. Yes, I've been thinking about family again. And how I miss them terribly.

For a while there I thought my mom was going to move out here. (JOY!) There was this man...but things didn't end up working out. I was more upset about it than she was. In addition to being my mother, she is one of my absolute best friends. My whole life she has been an encouragement, a companion, a teacher, a listener, a presence. And I hate that we aren't a part of each other's lives on a regular basis. Yes we talk on the phone. Yes we email each other. But it's just not the same. It just makes me so sad to long for something so tremendously. I try to explain my feelings to her when we are together--and it usually results in a heaping helping of sappiness.

I'm sure the family-thing is lingering in my mind because Grampy in Chief has been staying with us. He's been interviewing for a job out here too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And next to Grampy, I'm probably the next most excited person. It would be amazing to have this grandparent live nearby for so many reasons. Toddler in Chief would have some more family in his life on a regular basis; we would always have family to celebrate holidays and TIC's milestones with; a willing babysitter. And he is a champion with TIC.

When there is only one parent working, that puts a lot of pressure on. This notion also carries over into when there isn't any extended family around. When the parents are the only people raising a child, this puts a lot of pressure on, a pressure that parents with willingly helpful relatives around don't have. When you are the only people raising a child, it puts the pressure to do the right thing, to be the best you can be, to sacrifice for the benefit of your kid. Yes, I'm sure all parents experience this to a degree. But the responsibilities become amplified when there are no grandparents, or aunts, or other relatives around to share their wisdom and experience.

And being the at-home parent means that most of that responsibility falls to me. And I often struggle with whether I'm offering enough of me, or at least an adequate chunk of me to TIC. Maybe having another relative here would take some of that pressure off? Maybe I could spread around the parental responsibility a little.

If more family lived here, I probably wouldn't feel so guilty about doing more things for me. Maybe a little more work, maybe a graduate degree? Thinking about doing that stuff now seems like robbing time from TIC. But being able to spread around the parental responsibility makes those other things seem more attainable.

But then again, maybe that's just my excuse for procrastinating.

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