Geographically Dispersed Family


My parents married young. It would have been their SEVENTIETH wedding anniversary this month. (My dad passed away in 2005.)  They moved a lot in their married life and I am starting to wonder if that itchy foot is genetic.

I have lived in ten states.  Most of my siblings are pretty close to the same.

I have a sister eleven years older than I am, a brother nine years older than I am, and another brother 22 months older than I am.

And we all now live in different states. And not states NEAR each other either.

My mom (88) lives in East Texas woods, down the road apiece from my younger older brother.

My sister lives in the Northeast.

My other brother lives in Tornado Alley, with a state between him and my mom.

And I am on the west coast.

I mean really?


I am not really sure how it happened or what it all means. I never had a conscious decision to “get away from these people.”  I like being with them – we have shared senses of humor and sharp minds. And we do “circle the wagons” when we need help. When my dad passed away, I was living in FL an hour and half from my parents.  Being the closest, I was there that night. Within a week we were all there with her. Circled the wagons.

3/4 All Together Around 1991
Briefly, when I was in my twenties, I lived in Maine and so did my parents and my two brothers. My sister was less than a day away by car. I wish I remembered more about this time, but my twenties were weird. I feel like I was on Xanax or something: people tell me about stuff I did then, or big things that happened and it’s like it happened to someone else. I decided those memories must have been erased by new ones (my hard drive was full). I do remember taking care of my brother’s kids while he and his wife went on vacation. I remember family Christmases, my brothers helping with my car, us all a laughing a lot.  Feeling protected.  And then the Maine economy went south and I moved first – to Virginia. Then my older, older brother moved to the midwest. And then, well… yeah. We dispersed.

And sometimes this distance bothers me. A lot.  Between our busy lives, the cost of travel, and time zones, phone calls sometimes just don’t happen, and visits aren’t as often as I want them.  Thank God for texting: now I can at least say “Hey, I am thinking about you today.”

When we are all together we all fall into our “roles”.  I am the drama queen baby of the family, so you can just guess my part.  The dynamic is a bit crazy and overwhelming.  I find it hard sometimes, because my kids are still younger and in the house, I am dealing with middle school, high school, new drivers, planning for college, and carting them around, and my brothers and sister are way past that. It feels like they can’t relate to that stage anymore. And honestly part of me is jealous that they ARE past it. I still have five years to go until my youngest is 18!

I have friends who have lived in the same state their whole lives and have family right down the street!  They post pictures on social media of them as a group and there is a part of me that wants that.

So why all the moving then?  I can only speak for me:

  • The first six state moves I was under 18 so those I “blame” on my parents.
  • My move from MI to ME?  My parents and brother were there.
  • My move from ME to VA?  The economy in Maine tanked. I needed a job and had friends I could stay with (it was a good professional choice).
  • My move from VA to NH?  I got engaged and he lived in NH.
  • My move from NH to FL?  Economics. A lower cost of living. And husband’s family was there. (My  parents moved from ME to FL a few months after I did).
  • From FL to CA?  After a divorce, my fiance was out here. I was 100 percent sure it was the right place to go for me and my kids. He could not move. I could. The schools were better.  And my mom had moved from ME to TX at that point.

Sometimes I wonder. What if I had not left ____________ insert state here.

But I would like a Gulfstream on call. Or the ability to apparate. Or a transporter.


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