Back in 1994 I decided to move to Seattle. I had recently graduated from college and was just starting to feel that I might know enough to find a job in the computer industry. It wasn’t an easy decision. I grew up in Ogden, Utah and had spent my entire life there except for a few years serving a mission in Germany. My siblings and grandparents all lived within with a 30 mile radius. I still remember the snowy evening when I pulled up to my parents home in a U-Haul with all my possessions while towing a Mazda Miata. I don’t recall my parents being against the move but they didn’t exactly encourage it either. Given the circumstances at the time, I don’t blame them.
So here I am 14 years later still living in the Seattle area. Other than a year we spent in Utah, our family has lived nearly 1000 miles from my parents. Kim’s family lives nearly 1400 miles from Seattle. But living in Seattle has provided many good experiences. My parents and inlaws love visiting and seeing this gorgeous area. We’ve taken them to our favorite restaurants and forged many great memories during these visits. It’s also fun for our kids to have their grandparents undivided attention.
Yet there are challenges that come with living away from family. We are not as close to our siblings nor do we have the same degree of input on family decisions. We are out of the loop much of the time. Out of sight, out of mind. Also, when relatives live with you for a week or two, they see the good and the bad. Unlike a visit where it’s easier to put on a happy face for three hours, when someone is living with you 24/7 they will inevitably see us at our worst. They will see the day you sleep in, let the house go and allow the kids to eat three meals consisting only of Cap’N Crunch. They will see kids screaming, piles of laundry, and a family who is late for church. In short, they SEE THE REAL US.
Sometimes we wake up grouchy and don’t feel like doing anything. We don’t always eat three balanced meals and occasionally we watch Paradise Hotel and the Real World back to back! When we visit Utah we don’t feel like we fit in anymore. We’ve probably removed “heck” from our vocabulary and replaced it with the real thing.
So if you come visit us, expect more Simpsons less Brady Bunch. We aren’t perfect, but we don’t expect you to be either. And we promise never to hit you up for free babysitting when we visit your home. Deal?