This does depend on your family and how you fit. I know people who live 2 blocks from their family and never talk, I live 4000kms away from my parents and I wish every day they were closer. It also comes down to what makes up your family. The TV perfect family these days (think everybody loves Raymond or happy days) is a thing of the past. There is so many iterations of what a family could look like these days it makes for an eclectic time when they get together on special occasions.
Regardless of what this family looks like, it’s make up is important for the children that are part of it. This is where the age old saying “it takes a parent to conceive a child but a village to raise it” comes into play. Even with step parents and foster children and second cousins and half brothers and sisters, the family network is needed to help build and define the behaviours of our children. I know many would disagree and that’s ok, but I see it in my girls. We don’t have any family near us, and my girls often speak of when grandma and grandpa comes to stay, and the time Uncle Phil came to visit. They know they are family and seemed to pay more attention when they were given instruction by them. Because it was only for a week we could see the effects really stood out. The effects would have been a lot more subtle if we lived close and saw our family more often.
I still believe there are things that each family member wether it’s Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Uncle or cousin can teach your child. Each one has a different part to play and without that family around the parents have to fill the gaps. This becomes more and more apparent as my girls get older. When my first daughter was born my wife and I wanted to do it all on our own. It was our child and we wanted to raise her. We took advice from everyone but were determined to parent our way. As my daughters grow and are now 4 and 3, I am realising more and more how important the family network is to there maturity and growth. How my brother and his family along with my parents and my wife’s family all have an impact on my girls social education teaching them things that I don’t know or are just not possible to pass on.
I used to think that only I could teach my daughters everything they needed to know to grow up in this world, but as time goes by I can see more and more that family what ever the make up happens to be, can teach my daughters far more diversity than my wife and I alone can. As a son myself, I’m am getting older and possibly wiser but I also miss that family network. I want to lean on my parents a little more than I do now and then. I know they wish they could shoulder me too when times get tough. I have gone off and seen the world, been to war, built an amazing career, met the love of my life and started a beautiful family.
But I think it’s time to come home………