Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Over the river and through the woods (or just the next town over)

My son likes to tell me that when he grows up he is going to get a house about a block or two away and he and his wife will ride their bikes over every day to eat dinner with us. And although I am not sure what his future wife will think of that plan, it sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I would never prevent my son from moving away from me, but I would be thrilled to have him within easy visiting range in adulthood.

Clearly, I am in luck, since a recent poll has revealed that about half of Americans live less than 18 miles away from their parents

I sort of fall into that category: A quick reveal on Google Maps shows that I am only 16.8 miles away from my Mom. But that is a fairly recent deal: For most of my adulthood, I have lived a few hour's drive away from her. I know that she likes having me closer to her nest as it gives her easier access to her grandson (and probably me, too).

So what is keeping Americans so close to home? The study theorizes that we are becoming less mobile as a society overall, with children staying closer to their parents for arrangements that include help with child care or caregiving services. Education and job opportunities also play a part: The more educated the child, the more likely they are to settle far away from home for a better job opportunity.

For me, I wish that all of my son's grandparents lived closer to us. There are the selfish reasons of course: I want my son to know each of the amazing grandparents that he has. But there are also the practical reasons: I want to be close by for those moments in life when my parents (by blood or by love) need me.

How far away do you live from your parents? Tell me in the comments.

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