A few times since having my son, we’ve had to fill out forms asking for Emergency Contacts should we not be available. Growing up, my emergency contacts were an easy line item – my grandmother and aunt, both of whom lived exactly an 8 and 6 minute drive from our house, respectively.

But, my son’s grandmother and aunt lives a painstaking 33 and 30 hour drive away, respectively. Great for visits, not good if he gets a bee sting and I’m in an all-day conference.

It shouldn’t have to be such a complicated question, staring at me on his preschool renewal form. But the sad truth is that I can’t even remember who, in a last minute haste to finish it, we put down last year — and those were people I would apparently trust my child to!

The implications of living far from family really comes to light in these kinds of situations. Who do I trust to drive my son in their car? Who would care for him enough to bring him to a doctors if, for some reason, my husband and I were incapacitated at the very moment he had his own emergency at school? Who even knows him well enough to know where his doctor’s office is located? Certainly not anyone we may have listed last year.

You don’t realize how much you need to trust in strangers and loose acquaintances, or if you are lucky, colleagues, until you move out of driving distance from family to a city where you know no one except your spouse. I find that because of this, I sometimes forced to make decisions that I would otherwise not make because I have exhausted all other reasonable options.

From walking our dog when heading out of town to visit that family that lives on the other side of the country to having children and filling out an Emergency Contact form, it almost forces an annual review of the friendships and bonds we have established in our new city. What new friendships and bonds have we made over the last year? Have any of our friendships or relationships continued to grow and strengthen or have we gone separate ways?

And who on earth can I list as the 3 emergency contacts on this year’s form?

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