September 17, 2008

Uprooting

My parents are from Alabama. Their parents are from Alabama too, except for my mother's mother who somehow transplanted to Alabama from upstate New York. I never asked her how or why and it's way too late to ask her now. That makes me one quarter Yankee, yet my heart belongs to the South.

My sister and I were both born in San Diego. I don't know what my sister answers when someone inquires where she is from, but I claim Alexandria, Virginia as my hometown. My nuclear family migrated here when I was four. They have long since moved elsewhere. But me, well, I have spent the bulk of the ensuing decades living within a twelve-mile geographic radius. Yes. It's my hometown.

Home for my family spans the USA. I have siblings in California, Oregon, Florida, New Jersey and Arizona. I have a set of parents in Washington state and my mom here in Virginia, a few hours southeast. Wendy's siblings and parents all live within spitting distance of each other in southeast Texas. Our son lives in New York. Our nuclear families are split like an atom.

Why do some families stay close and others scatter? I envy people with family in close geographic proximity. I completely understand Wendy's mother's pique at her beautiful daughter settling in a distant land. Perhaps I relate because I didn't move away from my family, they moved away from me. Yet I take no issue with The Boy's transiency. It's whacky. My emotional double standards run rampant.

Still. To be able to just drop in to my sister's house on a Saturday afternoon. To bump into my father at the grocery store. To attend my niece's ballet recital without packing a suitcase. To babysit for my sisters' children or grab a beer with my brothers. To make a monthly run to the library with my mom. I'd like to do those things, among others. It would be such a delight to take a vacation to get away from our families rather than taking one to see them. Or not seeing them at all.

This rattles in my mind of late as Wendy and I plan a future move of our own. No matter where we choose to relocate, we'll always be distant from large branches of our family. The only one our plan brings us geographically closer to is The Boy. If he stays put. Which he may well not.

And therein lies both the beauty and the beast. The move will be for us, me and my girl. Just us. That kind of thinking takes some getting used to.

.

8 comments:

Val said...

ooooooooh.... comin' north to have a little Scrabble competition???!!!! :)

the only daughter said...

Well, hot damn ain't that a basket of bisquits.

SassyFemme said...

I envy people who are geographically close to their families, too. The older I get the more I want that sense of connectedness. We're closer now than when we were in TX, but it's still a LONG day when we travel to NH or NJ for a visit with cousins or aunts/uncles. We know we'll probably never live in the same geographic area as Jen and Matt since he's in the Air Force, that saddens me. We talk to her at least a few times a week, but it's just not the same.

Making the move for yourselves is a good thing though, at least I think so because it's what we did. :) There's still a piece of my heart that will always be in TX. I lived there for thirteen years, and it became part of me. I have dreams of someday retiring back there, if the climate towards gay/lesbians ever changes, but I'm pretty sure they're just dreams.

So does the five year plan move you to CT?

backlist said...

My entire family lives west of the mississppi and a good part of them live within a mile of each other in the middle of Wyoming. I feel like I'm missing something, always, but I'm not moving to Wyoming. So, I learning to live with the emptiness. My wife's family lives entirely in Chesapeake, VA, not too far from where we are in Charlottesville. It soothes me to realize we see them as much as we see my family, regardless of distance.

weese said...

Love the 5 year plan.
Such plans need to be discussed and re-discussed and plotted and changed and then changed back and such.
over cocktails... of course.

Martin said...

nooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO don't goooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

unless we can have your house, in which case get on out of here :)

yankeegirl said...

It is nice to be close to family, but it is nicer to be where you belong :) I just moved in July after 28 years in one place. So far it is working out great :)
Good Luck!

Kiraboodog said...

I can totally relate, except for the part about living in the same place for such a long time. The longest I've ever lived in any house is our current place, for 10 years, and the longest city location is here in Portland (almost 13 years). Everything before that was 5 years or less. But the part about wanting to be closer to family, that hits home. My immediate family is all in Austin, and I know I will (probably) never live there, nor are any of them likely to move closer to me. That makes me sad. I wish your (potential) move involved a migration westward rather than northward, but like you said, you're moving for the two of you, not the rest of us, and I'll back you on that any day of the week. But a visit out west would be nice...