Long Distance Family

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve realized a lot about family dynamics. Long distance family, specifically.

When we come visit Caleb’s family in Pennsylvania, it takes us about a day to realize how much we miss out on because we live so far away.

It’s no one’s fault; we live far away from them because it’s where God called us for this time. And this just happens when you live lives separate. I can’t imagine being in a long distance marriage! The relationships that form between those that live nearer are so much tighter and more developed than between those who don’t.

And it’s not because we don’t talk or keep in touch; we talk several times a week and try to FaceTime when possible (which I’ll admit is much harder than phone calls). We just don’t get the live interaction. Leading up to the trip, we were so excited to see everyone, thinking it would be like how it was when we lived out here, but it’s not.

And I found myself getting hurt and jealous because things aren’t the same. I felt like my baby doesn’t have the same relationship with her grandparents that my nephew does, and I felt like my relationship with my mother-in-law isn’t as close as it use to be either. I am so extremely blessed with a mother-in-law who I can talk to about just about anything, and we talked about this and she put my feelings as ease. Things haven’t changed between us except for the fact that we don’t see each other every day. And Ava gets the same love that her cousins get, just they have more frequent interactions.

And apparently it goes the other way as well. I didn’t realize how hard it has been on my in-laws when they hear stories about my parents visiting Ava or keeping her overnight. The same for my parents when we go on and on about Caleb’s parents and family. And frankly, I know a lot of grandparents and great-grandparents who don’t get along with the other side. I don’t know why we get jealous so easily, and it really makes me wonder why we feel that insecure, especially when it comes to our own families. You’d think we would know we all love each other enough to not feel that way, but it still happens.

Isn’t it funny how much things change as you get older? As kids, we are so carefree. Our feelings don’t get hurt by assumptions, they get hurt when another kid says something mean. But now, our minds think too much and we let our imaginations and assumptions take over.

And maybe this is just me and all the rest of us over-thinkers, but I have a feeling this is more common than not. Is this true? Are these feelings solely in long-distance families, or do families face these jealous feelings regardless?

A Week in PA

Man, this has been a whirlwind of a week so far! Good thing it’s only Wednesday.

We drove in Friday night. We left at 6pm for the 8.5 hour drive, and according to the last long, overnight trip, we were expecting a screaming baby for the majority of the trip. However, we started out, and she was content looking out her window and sipping her milkies. She fell asleep about 8:30 or 9pm, which is her normal bedtime, and she never made a noise! We made it all the way to New Stanton, PA, right before the turnpike before we had to get gas. When we stopped, Ava woke up. I got her up, changed her diaper, gave her fresh milk, and put her back in her seat. She downed that cup of milk, and was asleep again before we knew it. Night and day difference from our 6 hour trip to Wisconsin. We think it’s because we didn’t do her bedtime routine like we did going to Wisconsin. Ava is a baby of habit, so it really may have made the difference.

We arrived on schedule (who said long car rides have to be even longer with a baby?!) at 2:30am, and Ava woke up, gave lovies to Grammy and Pappy, and I took her to her room and she settled right in.

Saturday was a lot of just hanging out, and we got to see our nephew and new niece, as well as Caleb’s brother and sister-in-law!

Elsie

Sunday was my mother-in-law, Lisa’s, annual family gathering at Bear Valley. It’s a whole lotta food, games, and sitting around campfires. Ava had a ton of fun with her cousin JT, and worked on her standing. JT even helped her stand up, though he wasn’t too sure why this baby was hanging onto him so much. JT is 2 years old, and is a ball of energy! He’s very sweet, and is a very good big brother to 5 week old Elsie. Elsie is in the sleepy baby stage still, and I’ve been soaking up all the new baby I can! We have been imagining how the next couple years will be, since all these June babies are a year apart each. We’re even thinking about having a 1-2-3 birthday party for our babies next year!

Cousin Love

Grammy and Ava

Standing Around

Monday… Gosh, I can’t even remember what we did Monday. (Asking family….) Oh yes, we took all the babies to a tiny kid-friendly splash park. Ava thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water, specifically the sprinklers. She also thought it was hilarious to walk through the waste-deep water. We were there for an hour and a half before the park was bombarded with big kids. We ate lunch there, and packed up. We were in the car two minutes before Ava was asleep.

Water Fun

Tuesday we loaded up early and all went to Lancaster, PA, land of the Amish. We went to the mall to run a quick errand and eat lunch, and then drove through Amish country and saw a lot of men working the fields with their hoses. The Amish lifestyle is so fascinating, I would love to spend a few days with them. We then went to a kid-friendly interactive park called Cherry Crest, and spent a couple hours in 97 degree weather, going down really long slides and jumping on big trampoline pillows. Okay, only JT did the bouncy pillow, but everyone was able to enjoy the slide. After leaving there, we went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord to enjoy some finger-lickin’ good Amish cooking. We all ate our fill (and Ava loved it!) and we headed home with very sleepy babies.

Smorgasbord

Today we are just hanging out so far, and Ava is napping. We will probably do something later, but for now we are all recouping for a moment before the next thing. Enjoy some of the photos from this week!

Naked baby bath

Grammy Time

Animals

Walking

I have had some revelations this week regarding long-distance family relationships. No matter how much we love each other, distance makes things harder. (As I typed that, Lisa said “I want to throw a pillow at Anne.” Maybe the distance isn’t so bad 😉 jk) I will share these thoughts later though. I promise, I won’t make you wait a week!