When I lived away from home- from where my family lived- when I was a young adult, newly wed and new mother, I was always very proud of being independent.  I loved the fact that we could and would do anything we wanted.  I loved that I had no one to rely on but my husband, and I think that that gave us a very strong foundation to lay on.  We had no one around, so we had to figure things out together.  And even now, I strongly recommend that newlyweds go live away from their family units... doesn't have to be FAR away, but far enough that you can't go get meals 3 times a week!  I felt like it helped us define ourselves and focus on making a NEW family... OUR family.

But when we had kids, things changed.  It wasn't so "fun" living so far.  It was actually a little heartbreaking.  And it was exhausting.  We had no support.  We were always tired.  We had no breaks.  We became lonely.  (Honestly, I don't know if Mauricio felt this way, but I know that I certainly did and even battled a little PPD after having Jonas because of my isolation). 

My dad would always guilt me by saying that he was missing his grandchildren's lives.  He would tell me how unfair it was that we lived so far and how we didn't realize it, but that we NEEDED them.  

I didn't want to believe him.  Remember, I was proud of being independent.  

And yeah, I COULD do it on my own.  But then why was it so hard?  Why was it so painful?  Why was it so lonely?

We moved to Miami a year ago... straight into my in-laws house.  We lived 20 minutes from my dad and an hour and a half from my mom.  All of a sudden we had more hands to hold our kids than we could count!  

And much to my disappointment, we realized how much we needed their support.  They wrapped their arms around us and our babies, shoved good food down our throats and let us relax a bit. 

It has been such an incredible blessing to have had my in-laws allow us to live in their house for over a year.  They have taken care of our kids thousands of times, whether it be for a night out or for a quick grocery run.  They have given hundreds of baths, fed hundreds of meals, changed hundreds of dirty diapers.  Their support is what helped me to become healthy again and allowed me a chance to rejuvenate. 

It has been such an incredible blessing to have lived nearby my dad and step-mom.  They love taking care of our boys and it makes me so happy to see how they are not a burden on them, but rather a joy!  And my step-mom... that woman has a servant's heart like I've never seen.  She has cleaned my new house from top to bottom, 3 times (at least) so that we can move into a clean house.  She came over to clean, the day after our close, when the power had just turned on and the house was still a sauna.  She cleaned... in her bra... with sweat dripping down... and never complained.  Actually she said, "Ooo, hopefully I lose some pounds doing this!"  When I'm feeling sick, she comes over to take care of my kids and do my laundry and has even cleaned my portion of the in-laws house for me!  I have always been grateful to have her in my life... but since moving back, it's been more evident than ever.

And it has been such an incredible blessing to have my mom and step-dad semi-close too!  About 3 years ago, they moved to Naples, FL which is only about an hour and a half west of Miami.  But that hour and a half does not scare them.  They come on a weekly basis to see me and my kids!  Often times they come and return on the same day... that's over 3 hours in a car just for a visit!  Anytime I have a doctor's appointment, my mom drives into Miami to be able to help me with the kids, so that I can meet with the doctor and actually concentrate, while she plays with them.  Most of the times, she has to leave her house by 6am to get here on time to come with me!  And then she always takes us out to lunch!  She and my step-dad have always been extremely generous and are constantly helping us financially however they can.  And remember when I totalled my car last year and she just GAVE me her car?  Yeah, I'm still driving it. 


This is the kind of support that I couldn't get living hundreds of miles away.  
This is the kind of support that has helped me gain weight, get back on my meds and get healthy again. 
This is the kind of support that has helped us be able to afford to buy a new house. 
This is the kind of support that my marriage needs to stay strong. 
This is the kind of support that my children need to feel fully and overflowingly loved. 

Now, I'm not saying that we'll live here forever, because only God knows what's in store for us.  And the truth is, while we LOVE our family... we HATE generally dislike Miami.  But, the good news is that we just bought a house, so we'll probably be here for a while.  Just sayin'. 


Shawna Borman said...

I was just talking about this same thing yesterday to my sister over the phone. People constantly ask when we're having kids, I honestly don't have an answer but a big factor is that's a part of life I Do Not want my family to miss out on. Our parents, grandparents, and siblings.. we've all got great relationships and it just feels wrong to think of them not being intricately involved in our kids lives. I have no clue how that will work out but I certainly do pray that God has a plan with it in mind for us. An 8 hour drive doesn't really permit for frequent family visits. Glad to hear you're appreciating the availability and willingness of your family Nicole. God bless all of you :)