I’m the out-of-town sister. My dad and step-mom live in Texas. My mom and step-dad live in Utah, as do my two siblings. I live in Kansas.
I left home when I graduated from high school in 1980, and I only returned to my childhood home in Orange County, California for one summer. Now several dominoes have fallen, and my now-married sisters live in the same county in Utah as my mother.
Since the summer of 1981, I have lived away from my parents and my siblings to pursue college degrees, to work full time to support myself, and now to support my husband as I followed him from grad school in California to his first job in West Virginia to a promotion in Kansas.
I travel regularly by plane or by car to see my extended family. In my twenties, I made a dozen long car rides by myself between DC and California to see my family. When my two children were born, I took them to see their grandparents annually for several years. Every once and a while I mail things. At least we have the phone and other means of connecting that did not exist 100+ years ago for my ancestors who were separated by immigration from England, France and Germany to the US.
But these efforts to bridge the distance are not the same as living within an hour’s drive.