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Channels: Relationships - Family

Tags: family - extended family - parents - children - relatives



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The overextended extened family

Views: 806
Added: Fri. Nov 23, 2012 3:25am
Posted in: Family

I had a reading of my book, Late Night Musings, and a signing at a local adult community (adult as in age, not sexual inclinations). It took place at their weekly coffee and bagel get-together. There were about thirty people, ages fifty and above, in attendance - more for the bagels than to hear me I think.

Anyway, I briefly explained how the book came to be then read about five of my musings from the book. At the end of each one, I encouraged those attending to offer their own experiences and observations on the musings’ subject matter. I heard some very interesting and poignant stories.

When the reading and book signing was over, an 80 year old gentleman approached me to comment on one of my musings that had to do with my extended family where I wrote how much I missed what I had as a child. He said he too had a similar experience although he and his wife lived in Brooklyn all their lives. They grew up only a few blocks apart so they certainly experienced the comforting feeling and security of living among their extended family.

He then got to the reason he spoke to me. He lamented that the concept of an extended family living in close proximity to each other seemed to be over. He cited his own family as a good example. He had a son and a daughter, both married but neither living anywhere near the rest of the family. That is equally true for the younger generations of other extended families. We have become a mobile society and our children and grandchildren seem to move to wherever their work takes them. Often that means several moves that could be hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Although I am an only child, my cousins and friends that I grew up with have left our local town for the most part. To the extent I was part of that extended family I am not now since I live in Florida. The same could be said for the gentleman who spoke to me. In my wife's family, two of her six siblings live far from the remainder of the family. One lives in Virginia and the other in California. They each have two children who only see their aunts, uncles and cousins once in a great while. Then again talking about being mobile, my wife's family is from Malone, New York but live in Florida. Most children today don't get to experience living near their extended families.

You can find many things to blame for the problems we face in society today. Somehow I think the need to find work or rise on the corporate ladder has much to do with it. For many seniors (read parents and grandparents) retiring in more southern states can be blamed. Into that mix you can toss in divorce wherein the husband and wife move away from each other. Whatever the cause, the ones who pay for all this are the children. They never get to experience the joy, comfort and security of being part of an extended family. What a shame.

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