Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AWAY FROM HOME.

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I am a Utah Mormon. Born and raised in Zion (as some call it). Both of my parents were born and raised in the Salt Lake Valley as well. Down the pathway, behind my parents home live my maternal grandparents. It was rare that I didn't see my grandmother each day of my childhood. Almost all of my extended family lives there in Salt Lake County. My husband Jimmy is a Utah Mormon as well, born in California, but raised most of his life there in Utah. While his extended family is not all in Utah, his parents still reside there today.

A little over three years ago, my husband and I packed my grandpa's horse trailer and towed our little life to Dallas, TX where he began medical school. We weren't home anymore.

Gone were the weekly Sunday dinners with the family or meeting for a week day lunch. I didn't have the girls to meet up with during the Priesthood session of conference and Jimmy didn't have an automatic foursome to golf with. It was just he and I.

Of course, we were determined to create a home of our own, but it was hard. It is still hard. I still long for home and family on Sunday evenings when I know my extended family has come together for game night or to celebrate a birthday. It is just so comfortable and convenient, living near family.

But, there is always a but, we would not trade this experience for anything--even our family. We have seen so much growth between us as we have been away from the comforts of mom and dad. We have learned to rely on each other and are coming to know how to solve our own problems. I honestly believe we would not have experienced such significant growth living at "home".

The distance has also encouraged us to reach out. Here, we have made lifelong friends as we have turned to them as we would our own families. The opportunities for service in the Church and growth have been amazing.

Someday, we hope our journey will take us back "home", but for now we are content to have made our home here in Texas.

Do you live far from "home"? What have been your challenges? What have you and your family learned?

10 comments:

Tara said...

Thank you so much for that post! I'm a Utah mormon also but my husband graduates in a year and has been talking of moving to Boston. Right now I live 3 miles from my parents and they've been great with helping me with baby so moving so far has been a little scary to think about. Thanks for the optimism and hope. :P

Heidi said...

I still refer to Utah as home and haven't lived there in over 5 years. If I let myself think about it, my heart breaks a little that I'm missing out on so much family time and the fact that my two sisters have lunch together almost everyday and their kids are very best friends and cousins. But, living away from Utah has given me experiences I never would have had otherwise. I've grown particularly fond of living where there is more mission work needed. Plus, now that I have kids, I really don't live that far from blood relatives, they are just down the hallway ;-)

Leilani said...

I just got back from visiting family in Idaho and Utah and for some reason it was particularly hard to come home this time. I blame it on the pregnancy hormones. It is hard to be far from family. Everytime my boys visit, they want to spend every waking moment with cousins.

I agree that being "on our own" has made us stronger. It's made us rely on each other more. And more independent too. We can't just drop the kids off to Grandma next door to run an errand. I'm thankful for the ups and downs. It's been a blessing for us.

Simply Sarah *K* said...

My little family has had a similar experience...we moved to Texas from Vegas a few years ago, away from the comfort of having family just around the corner. Away from having members of the church as next door neighbors!
It's been a challenge, like you said, reaching out and creating a "family" with friends and members of the ward.
But my husband and I have grown so much together, that I wouldn't trade our decision to move. Now I just try hard to get my family to follow us here!!

Erin@mamaswhoknow said...

@Tara I remember feeling like it was impossible to move..like I could never do it and now we have. So, if it's in the cards for your fam, I am sure you will do great.

@Heid I agree, that if I think about it, it kills me. So, we just move on. And, kids do make it much easier. We have loved our experience of living in the mission field as well.

One other point I thought of is how much more special our visits are with family. I love having the grandparents come and stay with us and us with them. There are good things about it!

runningfan said...

My family is in Arizona. I moved out when I was 17 to go to BYU and have only spent three summers in Arizona in the 14 years since then. My husband and I have lived in UT, OR, and now CO. (His family is in NV.) We have LOVED the independence for the reasons you mentioned -- we are building our marriage and our family in a way that we couldn't if we lived down the street from our parents.

Last Christmas we decided it was finally time to go "home" to AZ and be closer to our families. We spent eight months trying to sell the house and find a job in Mesa. We hit wall after wall after frustrating wall and finally decided that for whatever reason, Heavenly Father needs us in CO. With five siblings (three married, two with kids) and parents in Mesa, and now my best friend has moved there as well, it's very hard for me to be away. But I know that there is purpose in my life here, and that is what keeps me going every day.

You are right about the special visits with grandparents. My kids don't have the same relationship with my parents as their local grandchildren have, but they have a special relationship. That has to be good enough!

(Wow...I guess I had a comment, didn't I?)

Courtney Price ~ Vintage Ginger Peaches said...

I lived in Idaho for a while, which is really similar to "zion" because everyone there has family nearby... so imagine how hard it is to move into a ward where everyone has family... you don't get invited to "family sunday dinner" :) I have always lived away from family, it's normal to me-- the only thing that has ever made it hard is living in a "zion-like" place. Maybe those who live near family should look around a little more and reach out to those who don't? We could always find at least one family in the ward to reach out to...

deb@virginia blue said...

We've been away from family for the last 15 years, and I still have moments when it feels very difficult. Our ward here is made up of massive extended families who get to see each other ALL THE TIME, and we all experience a few pangs of envy now and then at their ability to share so much time together.

BUT...

Our little family unit of five is EXTREMELY close. My kids aren't just siblings, they're best friends. I definitely think there is great merit to being out on your own as a family unit and learning to rely on one another without the cushion of other relatives close at hand. And I know for a fact that I wouldn't trade what we've developed for anything in the world.

Julie P said...

I grew up in Los Angeles, my husband in San Francisco. We're in Utah now and our families are still in California. We don't mind being away from them since we're a days drive away. Further would be harder. My sister is a 25 hour drive away, and that's really hard for me. We've done well here by ourselves, I think. Well, for the most part. It's been hard finding the kind of friends that are like family, since so many people in Utah have family here and do so much with their family. But we've done ok, and we've enjoyed the last 4 years here (as much as we miss CA).

Jeanne said...

There are definitely pros and cons to both situations. I actually think it was very good for me to be away from my family when my husband and I had our first child. I didn't realize it though until after we were able to visit them a year later. I noticed I was confident about certain things I might not have been if we had been close. Of course, it's always nice to have family close by when Christmas shopping comes around or you need a night out when you are too broke to hire a babysitter, but you also learn to accept help from others who step in in times of need. The challenging part then becomes to re-balance where your family fits in when you are around them again- in my opinion. :)

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