Holidays like Easter are great, aren’t they? Celebrating. Unwrapping presents. Watching the pure joy in your children’s eyes as they find another jellybean-filled Easter egg. Enjoying the fact that you can live vicariously through that joy as if you too believed an oversized bunny packaged that special basket just for you.
But on Sunday, as I watched cars loaded with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins crowd the street by my neighbors’ homes, I couldn’t help but wonder with a touch of jealousy what holidays like Easter would be like if we weren’t a military family.
My family has always been dotted all over the map, but my husband grew up with the good fortune of living within a 5-mile radius of almost his entire family. I can only imagine how fun holidays were with everyone meeting at the same place at the same time with the ease of a 10-minute car ride. As much as I love (most of the time) being married to the military, I wish my children could experience the geographic closeness of family that their friends down the street have.
I know that living far away from family isn’t exclusive to military life, and I know that even if our home wasn’t dependent upon the whims of the military, our families are too spread out for us to ever have what our neighbors have. And I can’t complain too much because my husband and I are blessed with plenty of visits from our parents. But it would be nice if visits with other family members didn’t have to include extensive and expensive travel, rental cars, and hotel rooms. It would be nice if I could make travel plans well in advance without having to change them a million times (or ask someone to change theirs) to accommodate my husband’s changing work schedule. It would be nice if I didn’t have to figure out how to trudge from 1 airport terminal to another while lugging 2 kids, a carseat, a booster seat, and carry-on luggage by myself because my husband couldn’t travel with me (and believe me, without the kindness of strangers, it’s a near impossible feat). It would be nice if I could meet my niece before she celebrates her first birthday.
Do you wish your family lived closer together? How do you help yourself and your children connect with far away family members in between visits?