Family. Near or Far?

December 9, 2013

When you live many hours away from your nearest family members, occasions (and pictures) like this are extra special. (This is Steve and Summer having morning coffee with my brother Tim, who was visiting with his family from Minneapolis.)


Another thing I really liked about having Tim around was that when we all went out on a sightseeing expedition, I would glance behind me and see this.


I’m so used to being the one lagging behind any group of people, it was especially lovely to turn around and see someone else actually lagging behind me!  (And especially nice that that someone was my big brother.)

Here are a few more favorite shots from our trek up Jockey’s Ridge.




Sarah looked a little bit like a movie star; that is, if movie starts wore sunglasses from thrift stores that cost $2.


We traveled from Jocky’s Ridge across the Bonner Bridge to the ocean.


And let me just add that exactly one week after we crossed that bridge, an emergency measure closed it down for repairs. No one knows how long before it opens again (several weeks, at least) but its closure means that there are a whole lot of people semi-stranded in the areas beyond the bridge. To use the emergency ferry takes 10-12 hours so it’s quite a hardship for anyone trying to travel to or from that area.

At any rate, we were thankful the bridge was still open during our outing and especially thankful that we crossed it without incident.

“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.” That line from “I Hope You Dance,” came to my mind several times as we stood and watched the waves.



Another movie star sighting.


Sarah with her cousin, Andrew.  (Shadowed by their parents.)


When we were all done admiring the ocean, we crossed the road to the Pea Island Refuge.




After we had enjoyed the scenery for a few minutes, we started walking back to our vehicle. Well, actually, we all walked except for Andrew.

He started off at a semi-sedate pace . . .


but then, his arms started swinging . . .


a little skip came to his step.. .20-DSC_7338

and before we knew what was happening, he was in full River Dance-ish mode.




And then?  He was done.


(And may I say again just how much he reminds me of Nathan?  I can totally see Nathan doing that.)

It was such a (rare) joy to have family nearby for picture-taking, ocean-viewing, bridge-crossing, river dancing and quiet mornings in the kitchen. So blessed.

What about you?  Do you live near your family or far away? 

We know a couple here in the area with a large extended family. I asked the wife if she ever wanted a little space and she said, “No, I love having everyone near by.”  When I asked the husband if he ever wanted a little space he said, “Yep!”

 If you had the choice, would you rather live in the same town as your family or have a little space between you?

39 responses to Family. Near or Far?

  1. Wow! You live in the Outer Banks?? We love it there- have vacationed a few times on the Sound side at Colington Harbour. My husband and I have even talked about it as a possibility for a move for us down the road. We are not cut out for the snow and cold of West Virginia. I LONG to move south and be near beaches!
    I have lived away from family and very close to them too. I actually lived about 4 hours away from them for over 8 years, and then moved back to my hometown over 2 years ago.
    They both have their advantages. Holidays are crazy now with both my family and my husband’s family nearby- we often joke how much easier holidays were when we lived out of state, lol! 😉
    BTW, stopping by from the SITS Girls Comment Love Tribe!
    And gorgeous photos!

    • Carrie,

      Yes, we have been OBX-ers for almost five years now and absolutely love it. There are so many people who live here whose stories are similar to yours–they vacationed here for years and finally decided to make the move! And who can blame them, right? 🙂

      You’re right. Life IS a little easier when all the families don’t live so near by. But if you can smile and joke about it, it sounds like you’re adjusting okay!

  2. Mixed bag over here. My mother and my grandmother lives two hours away. I see my mum I guess every second-week-ish?…My father lives in Spain he has always been living aboard, but he is close to me emotionally. I would wish we lived closer though.
    When it comes to my mother and grandmother the relations are… lets say difficult. So distance is needed, but when I get to see them then I value it.
    Reminds me I have a picture from Spain to show you

    • Trine,

      It sounds like you have many people in your life who love you although sometimes even loving relationships can get complicated, can’t they? Glad to know you get to see your family on a fairly regular basis and that you truly value those times together.

  3. I live in Austria, my parents live in Canada, and my siblings live on the east & west coasts of the US. One day, I would love to live close enough to my family that I could visit without arranging it months in advance! But that is not in the cards right now, since my work is here. And actually, it doesn’t seem too bad to me… I was living in Australia prior to moving here earlier this year. Compared to the 40 hours of travel it took to get me home from Sydney, 17 hours is hardly anything!

    • Laura,

      Definitely an international family!

      And 40 hours of travel to get home? Yikes! I imagine you and your family have a bunch of frequent flyer miles saved up!

      Sounds like you have an interesting job that requires you to live in interesting places–enjoy! (Well, except the part about being so far from your family.) 🙂

  4. It is always so wonderful having family visit. I miss my sisters that live in Nebraska and Ill. so bad sometimes. But I am blessed that my boys have all settled close to home and I get to squeeze my grandchildren all the time. Your pictures always make my heart happy!

    • Karen,

      Glad my pictures are heart-happy pictures! 🙂

      Also glad you have your sons and grand kids nearby–you’re blessed and so are they!

  5. I have some family here. in Lincoln, some in Arkansas and some in Ga/ Tenn
    grand kids are in army right now in MD and TX but who knows where they will be next. I wish we lived closer but like some one above said, we do better when we are not together all the time. One thing, when we do visit it is a real vacation from home

    • Sharon,

      Yes, it is sort of fun to go and get to visit the relatives and take a vacation at the same time! Sounds like you and your family get around a lot, seeing all the states you live in!

  6. After having lived in Kansas City for 16 years, I would love to be back in the small town I grew up in in NJ, surrounded by family, we have spent most of our holidays alone and it’s lonely, now that we are in NC, we have family within driving distance but both my kids are back in KC!!

    • Dale,

      That is very tough to be far from family (especially your kids) on holidays. Glad you have such lovely memories of growing up in a small town, surrounded by family–you’re blessed!

  7. We have just moved 20 hours away from all are family and friends. We moved from warm/hot sunny Texas to cold snowy and no sun Ohio and I hate it!! we left behind our 2 sons and daughter-in-laws and 4 great grandkids, not to mention sisters and brothers, and our church family and friends. it was do to a job transfer been with the company 38 years and they decided my husband needed to be in the home office. hopefully the few years will go quickly and we can retire back where the sun shines .It’s sure hard to watch your home of 28 years sale to someone new, Peggy

    • Peggy,

      Oh my, that is a LOT of change in a short amount of time. Family, town, home, church, job, friends, climate . . . ALL different! Twenty eight years is a long time to live in one home and I can only imagine all those memories in the walls. Hugs to you.

  8. My big sister lives 5 hours from where I am, and my parents + lil sister are 7-8h away. It is way too far! I liked having my parents closer (2hrs) when I lived with my big sis. And now with our baby coming, I wish even more they were closer to me (and hubby). As for my in-laws, they live in The Netherlands. We are in Canada. That’s an 8-9h non direct flight from where we are… I love them and I wish they were here too. I think the best for me would be a 2h drive from family, because it’s is easy and quick to do in 1 day, but far enough to have some space the rest of the time.

    • Renee,

      Oh I can only imagine how much you must want your family near by with a baby on the way. A new baby is such a family event! But that baby will be loved and spoiled long distance and the times when you ARE able to be together will that much more special.

  9. Great pictures! We have it both ways.. my family is small and not near by.. While my husband’s is near and far. But his side gathers every Thanksgiving.. between 100 and 120 people for dinner!! It is fun to see everyone..from NY(most), Georgia, Florida, and is quite the occasion!
    Michele(from NY)

    • Michelle,

      Over a hundred people for Thanksgiving?? That is amazing! What a wonderful tradition to be able to maintain that reunion through the years; that makes me smile.

  10. We are in south Alabama and most our family is in Washington State and Arizona. Our son and daughter-in-law are in DC, but will most likely be someplace else next year. Our daughter, son-in-law and grandson live a few minutes away, so that’s wonderful! We do like having some space, but a little less would be nice. I wish we all lived within driving distance so we could see everyone more often. Sometimes it’s years between visits…way too long. Glad you had a great time with your family over Thanksgiving!

    • Gayle,

      Yes, I can relate to the “years between visits” line. Travel is so costly (in terms of dollars and time) that it’s hard to see the people we love as often as we would like. I’m glad you at least have a few family members close by–that makes it a bit more bearable!

  11. A little space is a good thing, but I wouldn’t want to be thousands of miles away. A few hours is perfect.

  12. Space is required!! I live 3600 miles from my nearest family, 4300 from my parents, 4400 from my brother. I love them all very much, but we do better when there’s less togetherness. I do hope to someday not be *quite* this far from everyone, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever live in the same town (or even state) as most of my family.

    • Kristina,

      Wow–I think you win the award for the most family members who are the furthest distances away! I found the line interesting, “We do better when there’s less togetherness.” One thing for sure–you truly appreciate each other when you finally get to see them!

  13. Most of my family lives within 2-3 hours of us, and I love it! it is nice to be able to spend weekend with grandparents and great grandparents without the hassle of packing the house to take your twins and older child and husband for the weekend! I love that my girls will be able to remember spending time with great grandparents and grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins when they are older… just like I remember growing up doing! I am dreading the day that Abby tells us where she wants to go to college, on the off chance that it might be far away… I want her to follow where God leads, but I do hope it is close to home! 🙂

    • Tiffany,

      You are blessed! One of my regrets in life that is that my kids will have so few memories of time with extended family while they were growing up. I know your children will treasure those moments as they get older.

      And I truly understand the whole thing about wondering where Abby is going to college and how far away that might be. I think maybe we should start gearing up for “Home School College.” What do you think?
      Think our girls would go for it? 🙂

  14. My parents, brother, niece, two aunts, uncle and cousin all live in southwest Missouri. One brother lives in mid-central Missouri. I live in Tampa, FL so quite a distance for me. Would I want to live in the same town as my parents – not really and not because I wouldn’t want to live close to them but because they live in a town of less than 4,000 people and I’ve lived in cities (KC and Springfield, MO; Louisville, KY and Tampa, FL) all but 3 years of the last 32 years.

    • Oh left out that my other niece, nephew and sister-in-law are also in mid-central Missouri.

      • Phyllis,

        Wow–that’s a lot of relatives in one state! At least when you visit one of them, the other ones are fairly close by! 🙂 And I can understand you not wanting to live in a smaller town when you’re used to city life. That would be quite the change!

  15. Everyone in my family lives close enough…except my two boys, of course, who have BIG dreams and are out there slaying the dragons…

  16. was nice you all had a good time visiting, we always enjoy the Timothy Campbell family when they visit us twice a year too! It is neat to see the kids growing up and wonder how they will branch out in life’s avenues and choices; I pray it is always right in step with their Lord Jesus…or maybe right in skip with Him! Ruth C.R.

  17. My whole family lives about 30 minutes away! I don’t think I could go any further than that.

  18. My dad, stepmom, brother and SIL all live in Denver, about 400 miles from here. My MIL lives just 30 minutes away, and both of my children and their families live just 100 miles east of us. The Denver gang is harder to see as often, but the rest we see quite often. (The grandbabies are on the 100 mile side, thank goodness!!) If I had my way, we would all live in the same town. The hubby and I have already decided that we will move to Lincoln where the kiddos are when we retire. That’s only a short 10 years from now and we can hardly wait!! (The kids want us to move NOW!) 🙂 Love it!!