Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Like many families, our families move a lot. Someone in our now-approaching thirty person family tribe is constantly moving. But the unique thing is that we often have a niece or nephew move to their aunt or uncle's hometown, rather than the adult child move to his or her parents' hometown.
Case in point: when Kelly, our oldest daughter, graduated from Coastal Carolina University in Conway to become a teacher, she only taught two years at Myrtle Beach Primary (living a mile away from us) before she moved to Raleigh, where my sister, Nancy, lives. Their homes are only a mile apart.
After we moved to Wilmington, Nancy's daughter, Lindsay, moved here and went to work for the largest employer in our town. Russell and I helped her move in and invited her to dinner frequently. So, you might say Nancy and I switched daughters for a while. But then Lindsay got married and moved to Washington, D.C.
Later, my niece, Maggie and her husband, Brian moved to Havelock, as he is in the Marine Corps and stationed at Cherry Point. Maggie is my sister, Cathy's daughter, and Havelock is about an hour and a half away from us. Cathy and Paul live in Virginia Beach. Their other daughter, Jean and her husband, Lee, live nearby in Suffolk.
Cory, my Coast Guard nephew, recently was stationed at Norfolk, a stone's throw from Virginia Beach. So he is now practically living in Cathy's back yard. But it won't be for long because Paul just retired and guess where they are moving? Wilmington! Yay! I will finally have a sibling living in my home town.
Our daughter, Katie's husband is in school in Charlotte, studying to become a histotechnologist. Michael was selected among four individuals out of the entire country to participate in this inaugural program at the main hospital there. To say we are proud of him is an understatement. He comes home to Wilmington on weekends and will graduate in December. Katie has remained here, working as a nurse. But guess who else lives in Charlotte? Nancy's son, Huck and his wife, Heather. So Michael has dinner with them from time to time and they have helped him learn the big city (the largest city in N.C.)
About the only people who have not moved are my parents and my brother, Steve, and his wife, Lori – and yes, they've been neighbors in Jacksonville, N.C., for nearly thirty years. And that is one reason we moved to Wilmington, to be closer to all of our family. But as you can see, they are moving faster than a pile of ant hills who've been disturbed. So for now, we are staying put. Anyway, it will be several years before Russell can retire. We joke about that because though I've had many jobs over the years, I don't get to retire. But that's okay because I'm doing what I love to do, writing.
As the old African proverb goes, our family is proof that “It takes a village to raise a tribe.” My aforementioned niece, Maggie, is due to have her first baby the end of this month. And as Russell can attest, I love babies. So I will be happy to fill in until Cathy and Paul get settled here, which may or may not be before the baby comes. In fact, I consider it a privilege. Last weekend I got to see them at dinner when we met about half way at a steakhouse.
I told Maggie I was so glad our families would be together now.
Since we've got these 'pockets' of family scattered here and there, we can be our own little pocket right here in eastern N.C.
But wait, not so fast. She reminded me that Brian is military and guess what? They'll be assigned a new duty station next summer. Ack! I calculated silently: if they move to Raleigh or Charlotte, they'll still be near family. But y'all, that's not going to happen since there are no military bases nearby.
And that might be the first time in a long, long time that our tradition ends. I certainly hope not because I like to see family moves bring us closer together, not further away.
Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller” firstname.lastname@example.org www.annipock.com.
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