Thursday, September 27, 2012

There's no place like home... sort of.

We survived our first trip with the baby! He was surprisingly well-behaved on the plane (although when we were walking onto it, he was fussing pretty loud and eliciting all of those wonderful "oh-great-a-crying-baby" looks from fellow passengers). Brayden was his usual happy pint-sized self for the entire trip... except for the one hour we actually wanted him to behave -- his baptism. We were definitely that couple with the crying child. He was crying so loud that Lauren didn't even hear half of the ceremony. Oops.

Overall, it was an awesome trip. And it really made me miss living close to family. Lauren and I aren't near much of our families out here in Virginia. It was so wonderful being surrounded by so many relatives for the weekend. It's a special kind of togetherness that you just can't get anywhere else. For me, having grown up surrounded by family, it's particularly difficult. My family lived with my grandma for several years during my childhood, and even when we moved out, we were just a few blocks away. One set of cousins lived just a short drive from our house, so we always saw them, too. I remember all of us getting together at their old house. The adults would be off talking together, and the kids would be playing in the yard or basement. Some of my best memories as a child were with all the family I grew up with.

I know my stories date me a bit, but I do, in fact, remember the "good ol' days" when families weren't so spread out. My immediate family members (siblings + parents) currently reside in four different states (five if you count where my dad spends half the month for work). Extend that to aunts, uncles and cousins and now you're up to nine states and more than a dozen different cities. In my opinion, that's really unfortunate. Nothing can replace family in someone's life and I've truly been missing spending time with everyone. There's something about starting a family of your own that makes you appreciate it even more and really recognize the importance of being near everyone. We're fortunate enough that Lauren's family has been able to come to visit regularly, but it still makes me sad that Brayden won't be able to just have Grandma and Grandpa stop by for dinner or be babysat by Auntie Cole on a random Thursday.

I would love for Brayden to grow up surrounded by his family. It was so wonderful to spend this weekend with mine and Lauren's family members. From my Uncle who showered Brayden with affection, to my brother who watched football with him, to my youngest niece who couldn't get enough of him... it was just amazing seeing all of the members of my family interact with him in their own special ways. My niece was the cutest. She immediately bonded with Brayden and, although she's only five, she was so comfortable with him and eager to interact with him any way she could. She wanted to hold him, help get him dressed, change his diaper, feed him (I had to politely explain why she couldn't help with that task), and just play with him. She even brought over her pseudo etch-a-sketch to try to "teach the baby to draw." It was adorable when she tried putting the magnetic pen in his hand and moving the toy around the pen so he "drew." (Although, afterwards, she looked at me and regretfully informed me that "he's not very good at drawing.")

Kendall playing with Brayden
It's these types of experiences that really make me miss being near everyone. Lauren and I got back to Virginia on Monday. In a lot of ways, it was great to be back. But in other ways, I felt like we were leaving "home" behind. I'm so blessed to have such a great family (mine and Lauren's), but I'm sad we can't see everyone more often. I suppose all I can do is be grateful for the time we spend together, look forward to the next time we see them, and keep bugging my wonderful husband about moving back to the Midwest. :)


  1. First, I don't think anybody knows to check out the other tabs a the top of this blog.

    Second, we are definitely moving back to the midwest as soon as you get a job there that pays what mine does here. :) CAN'T WAIT!!!

    Cookies? No?

  2. The real challenge is finding a job that pays what yours does AND allows me to do as little work as you do.

    Oh - and that also means you'd have to be a stay-at-home dad. And we both know how that would work out. (Cue the natural disaster footage)