My SO pretty much interrogated me on my feelings about my family, and how my family works. Whether it was simply trying to understand or what, I don’t know, but it made me realize, and not for the first time, how different my family is, which was only highlighted today.
My family is multi-generational, with myself and Dad a block and a half (if that) from my grandmother, who lives with my aunt. A lot of the time, I’ll stay with my grandmother, who is turning 84 next week. I get to help her and she gives me old-fashioned lessons in sufficiency and the old-fashioned way of keeping house, and then, my aunt will take me to my classes, Dad will pick me up, and the whole thing starts over again, Monday-Thursday. It’s not “conventional” in any sense of the word, but it works for us.
My SO on the other hand, seems to think families should work very differently. Parents work and do all the childcare, grandparents visit and/or are visited on holidays, and if/when they get too old, they get put in a home. This just boggles my mind and my worldview. I know homes exist (my mother made me swear never to put my grandmother in one) but I’ve never met anyone who thinks they’re a good idea, unless it’s related to hospice or the person in question doesn’t want to come home, like my grandfather, before he passed away. I don’t like that sort of family set-up.
I suppose, for me, family has always been a big cornerstone. You eat at Grandmother’s 5 days a week, you do your tilling and hers, you help build a shed, you do your aunt’s IT problems, groceries are done all at once and divvied up between houses, that kind of thing. As much as I know I don’t want to stay in the middle of Amish Country, and that my hometown is not at all tolerant or pedestrian-friendly, I have a hard time imagining a life ten or twenty years down the line where I wouldn’t be involved, even from a distance, in the day-to-day lives of my family.
For a few years I’ve been planning to see if I could move to Pittsburgh, once I’ve had a job and been able to put some money away. My two best friends from college live there, and now the SO. Recently, however, I’ve been considering other options, more urban than where I live, but less urban than Pittsburgh. It started out as a thought of other places I could work if I couldn’t get hired in town, but I think I’m slowly falling in love (from a distance) with a place in Bucks County. I love Pittsburgh, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a 6 hour train ride from a city 45 minutes away from me. I’m no longer sure I’d like settling down that far from my family, and I don’t know if my SO would be okay with leaving home.
The future is a very nebulous place, full of might-be and what-if. I need to think over these things, pray about it a little, and ask the ancestors for guidance, maybe talk it out with Grandmother too.