I don’t know about your family, but mine has been in the same place for a long long time. Let me explain.
I grew up in Fremont, Ohio. Most of my family has been in Fremont and Clyde for at least 70 years. See that map? My entire immediate family including grandparents is pretty much in there. My maternal grandmother grew up in Clyde and searched for Jessie Simmons’ tongue on the very farm I searched for it years later. She married my grandfather, who was also living in Clyde. My parents, aunts, and uncles all married people in the same vicinity. And let’s be honest. Everything is easier for them in terms of seeing loved ones. If my grandparents need something, they have 4 kids and their spouses right there, plus some grandkids and cousins. It’s easy to pick a place to have a family gathering because everyone is right there.
And up until my generation, everyone was still there. My grandparents have 10 grandchildren. Seven of them are still living in either Clyde or Fremont. I am just south of Cleveland. My cousin Heidi is right around Ashland. I know we would love to be able to get back more often and see our family, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.
Getting off of work at 5, driving an hour and a half home puts me at 6:30, long enough to eat dinner, say hi, and head on out before the hour and a half drive back, so that I can go to bed at a decent hour. I’d love to be able to drive 10 minutes down the road to have a cup of coffee with my mother.
There are advantages to this. If you marry someone from your hometown, chances are you get to be close to both of your families. That makes celebrating holidays with both much easier. It makes planning the actual wedding easier. It creates built-in babysitters that you don’t have to pay and grandparents get to see their grandkids. I loved spending every weekend at my grandparents’ house.
But it’s hard to do that as a Gen Y kid. We move away, go to college, graduate, feel guilty for not using our degrees, and live somewhere we can get a job. During that process, most of us fall in love, either with someone from our hometown, someone in college, someone in grad school. And eventually you have to choose. Do you live closer to your parents? Or your lovers? You’re coming from different places, after all. Will someone be upset? What if you both can’t get a job in the same place? What happens then?
It’s just all very weird.