We've just spent a week with our older daughter and family. Our grandchildren in this family, ranging in age from 5 (almost 6 he would tell you) to 11 (going on 18) includes a pair of twins, age 9. Most of the week was spent in Orlando visiting the various theme parks, and retreating back to our condos at the Fountains for dinner and sleep so we repeat the same pattern the next day. We did take one day off and spent it involved in activities at the clubhouse and pool, a welcome respite. While I'm already back home and have napped in my favorite chair, my daughter and family are somewhere between here and Newark, NJ at the mercy of US Air. Their flights have been delayed by weather, changed by equipment problems and we're not really sure when they will get home. I know they will be whipped by the end of the trip. Tomorrow we all have responsibilities at our respective churches.
All of that leads me to some thoughts about family. Just a week prior to this, we journeyed by car to Birmingham, AL to spend some time with our other daughter and family and see our oldest granddaughter play soccer. In other words, in order to spend time with those we love most some of us had to travel for hours which included extensive planning and packing. What ever happened to extended families living at least in the same town? Sometimes they even lived on the same connected properties. The beauty of this plan is that children grow up with the nurture of not only their parents, but also their grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Rather than limit their exposure to those outside of family, in most cases it is expanded because each family member also has connections with others through work and community events who then get to know and be known by the extended family. I'm wondering if the world might not be better if we returned to this mode of family. I guess I'm wondering how it would have been if I had not essentially left home for college and never lived back there again. I've lost my identity in my home town.
Now I get to text with my grandkids, or read of their activities on FaceBook along with everyone else. My wife helps our grandkids with homework over the phone. Wouldn't it be great to just run next door, or across the street, or across town to connect with family? I think we're missing something.