Monday, August 29, 2011
Family: Beyond the Nuclear
He will go to the computer and point to it and ask for "abba" (which is how he says Abi, for my mom). Or he will bring my phone to me and ask for "uh-cul" (uncle). Or he will just point to me and say "mamá" and then point to jb and say "dad" or "papá" - and go back and forth over and over.
I'm so happy we put in the extra effort to make sure we saw our families regularly during his first year despite the distance. jb and I are both from close-knit families and really want to pass that on to Leo. It was pretty easy when we were all in the same city - but when we moved with Leo just barely out of the newborn phase I really worried we would sacrifice that bond. Now though, seeing him light up at phone calls from Aunt Fanny or a skype session with Grandpa is really reassuring and makes all those hours on the turnpike worth it!
It's also helped that three of jb's brothers have moved to Philly - well, even better than that, they live about three blocks away. They are so close and each have variable work schedules so there's almost always someone to accompany us to the park or library.
It was especially nice to know there was family nearby this past week when we faced an earthquake and a hurricane just days apart (I know!). Luckily, we came through both without any problems (though many were not so lucky and even neighbors are still dealing with power outages and flooding), but it was nice to know that we had backup within walking distance.
The trickiest parts of the equation are the family members that are further away, like my mom's side of the family in Mexico and Pops in Texas. Luckily technology makes the world feel a lot smaller - and we do hope to make trips to visit as often as our tight budget will allow. My goal is that in ten years we have a kid that has a strong sense of family and really knows his aunts and uncles beyond a holiday here or there. I think we are laying a pretty good foundation so far.