Thursday, November 10, 2011

Like family

This morning, we dropped our kids off at a friend's house, and we won't pick them up until tomorrow. You see, our tenth wedding anniversary is coming up in a week or two and since it's right in the middle of the semester, we won't have a chance to properly celebrate. So Jeremy and I are having a free 24-hour vacation together, at home, for now, and during the break between semesters maybe we'll go somewhere more exciting.

(Perhaps I should have mentioned at the beginning of this post - or five days ago - that we've been off work all this week in honor of Eid al-Adha. Real life starts again on Sunday.)

The girls went to the friend's house without looking back, and Jeremy and I debated for a minute about what we wanted to do for breakfast/lunch. Should we go out to eat? I was only interested in a breakfast-all-day type restaurant. Specifically, I wanted Lucille's in Cairo to suddenly be transported to Dubai. Lucille's is the kind of restaurant where you can spend $30 on breakfast and it's totally worth it. There's no Lucille's here, though, so we ended up going to Spinney's in Mirdif and spending what would have been our restaurant budget on sundry delicacies and groceries: real shortening (which I haven't seen since I moved here), A&W root beer, fancy Greek yogurt, and those dreamy Dutch strawberries that cost  $10/lb. Then we went home and made deluxe omelettes with pepperoni purchased in Spinney's infidel pork room.

The point of this post is not food, though. The point is that living 24+ hours of plane travel away from any and all family members means that we rely more on friends to fill some of those roles. The role of watching our kids for us, for example. Normally that's something that Grandma and Grandpa would do, or your SIL across town. But nobody here has Grandmas and Grandpas around, or SILs across town. So we rely on our friends.

Even though it's sometimes hard to live far away from family, I find that I enjoy the increased sense of community it brings to our neighborhood and church congregation. Everyone watches out for everyone else, because by definition, we all know how it feels to not have Grandma or Grandpa to turn to when we need help. We're all in the same boat. So while you may feel sorry for us - and believe me, we sometimes feel sorry for ourselves, like on lazy weekends when it would be nice if the kids could just go play with the cousins for a while - living all the way over here, away from family, please know that we have our support network. Even if it doesn't look like the traditional one.

Now, back to my strawberries and yogurt...


Liz Johnson said...

It's a stay-cation, minus the kids! That sounds fabulous, actually. I would love a weekend like that.

My family is a bit closer than yours (obviously), but even with a three-hour travel time, we have had to rely on our friends and ward a lot more than we would have if we were closer. And I agree - it forges a bond that is wonderful and understated. They're my family, too.

Katie said...

Happy anniversary! Enjoy the kid-free time!

(Also, FYI, when I clicked on the "real more" part--and I tried multiple times--nothing happened. The only way I could see the rest of the post was in the comments section. Weird.)

Amanda said...

I also could not read more. I used to tell myself that I was glad that I didn't live close to my family as I was out of all the drama and contention that happens when you have a big family all living in one place. But, I got really sad for Lillian when my dad had surgery- so we were praying for him, and she asked, "who's Grandpa Dick?"

Britney said...

Happy 10th! Sounds like an easy, restful way to celebrate. Brilliant.

Glenda The Good said...

Happy Anniversary. We aren't as far away from home as you but I know what you mean. With the exception of this emergency for the most part we are on our own. Just me and Dr. J, and the friends we've made at church, at work, in the neighborhood. Sometimes it makes me sad, sometimes I'm frustrated, most of the time I'm grateful, and it gives a good sense of self that for the most part, on my own I can make it :)

Jennifer said...

Happy anniversary (soon)! I feel you on not being close to family, though we're only a 2 hour flight from grandparents which makes it much more manageable than 24+ hours of travel. I really appreciate the support we get from friends and ward members here because they are all we've got! The part I'm jealous of is that everyone around you is in the same boat and therefore you have opportunities to give back. It seems like all our friends/ward members have family within an hour's drive, so we don't have people to do fun little trips with or spend holidays with because everyone goes with their family. We also have less opportunities to return the favor when people watch our kids, so I feel bad continuing to ask for help if needed. Oh well, you take what you can get, right? ENJOY the 24 hours!


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