We tend to run in grooves. We feel out our surroundings, wiggle our way into a routine, and run with it. "It" can be for our life at home or our life while traveling or our life while switching between the two, but in any case the grooves always manage to appear just in time to settle ourselves into them and feel tracked. Kind of like when you're driving through mud and finally squish your tires into the main ruts so that you can actually get somewhere somewhat smoothly. Tracked.
It's always most obvious how tracked we are when other influencers are introduced into the routine. We see how easy things could be if we had JUST THAT ONE THING that would make life SO MUCH EASIER. But our tires are always snuggled into the ruts just tightly enough so that we don't actually need THAT ONE THING to stay afloat, and even after a quick glimpse of it we're right back on track, tracked, snapped back into our own groove. But the memory of that quick glimpse tends to live longer and longer each time we see it - at first sight treating it as nothing more than a wishful vision, but at most recent sight actually pondering the possible long term effects if said-glimpse were to actually BE.
This weekend we've had the great honor of hosting Gamma. She grocery shops, she makes sweets for the tot, she does dishes, she takes over so that mommy and daddy can actually go out on a Saturday night, she chases the tot around the shopping mall for an afternoon so that mommy and daddy can see back-to-back movies, she IS THAT ONE THING that would make life SO MUCH EASIER and HOLY FREAKING HELL why does she have to leave in TWO DAYS??? Why? Because we're tracked. We're New Yorkers and the vast majority of our family are Minnesotans and the groove we've built for ourselves is one that needs to be sustainable by just the 3 of us, accept of course for those brief moments in time when family comes to visit. And oh my my do we take advantage of those...
Despite how you may be reading this my head is not buried in the sand. I don't think we're the first family to live an airplane's distance away from family. And I certainly don't think any portion of our situation is unique or hasn't been conquered in the past. I simply take issue with the fact that the groove that we've found seems to be impeding our ability to create the kind of groove we really want to have. The one where we go out as adults in the evening hours on a semi-regular basis instead of just when family's in town. We're obviously dedicated to raising our son in a way that introduces him to all things culture and art and culinary and yadda yadda yadda...but sometimes it is kind of nice to just enjoy those things as adults all the while knowing the tot's enjoying his own evening playing with Papa or baking with Grandma or swinging with the cousins.
Sometimes the groove we've built just doesn't seem to accommodate the life we'd like, and the realization of this is only amplified when THAT ONE THING that would make everything just magically fall into place hangs out with us for a few days and reminds us of where we wish we could be all the time.
I'll be honest, growing a family far far away from your other family is a lot harder than I thought it would be. A LOT. And I'm regularly faced with the label of inferior due to the fact that thousands, millions, ZILLIONS have done this in the past, and done it so so well. I guess I just haven't figured out their secret yet, because each time family comes to visit and we have the person on hand to watch the tot while we do laundry, or run to the store, or enjoy a appetizer out in public alone, or a movie in an actual movie theater, I'm amazed that this lifestyle exists. And then I'm faced with the reality that the only way this lifestyle could actually become a lifestyle for us would mean moving way too far away from everything else that we love that is our life in New York.
And then, right smack dab at the end of a long holiday weekend, the grooves suck us back in. Family flies back to their home and the work week starts and our routine-as-usual slides comfortably back into place. Only each time this happens it becomes a bit less comfortable and a bit more "couldn't we find a way to make this more like when THAT ONE THING is around all the time" and then we're too tired to complete the conversation and table it for later. Which basically means until the next time THAT ONE THING is in town.
Thankfully for us there's Skype to keep the tot up-to-date on the MN latest, but unfortunately Skype hasn't figured out a way to offer long distance babysitting. Now THERE'S a market I'd invest in.