How much family is too much family? It's a trick question. The correct answer is that it depends on the family. "Too much family" is based more on proximity than number.
Every family can get on each other's nerves. That's why even special "forever" Hallmark families don't spend 24 hours a day with each other. Everyone needs space.
When you're a kid, you long for the day when you can get away from your family and be on your own. You may love your parents (or not), but you don't want to spend the rest of your life in their basement.
Parents long for that day as well. In some cases (like mine) even more so. I don't blame them. After all, it wasn't me who spent hundreds of thousands of gray hairs and dollars to keep me alive long enough for me to leave home.
Note: It probably worked the same way at your house. Assuming, of course, that you weren't raised by criminals, fundamentalist crazies or wolves.
My wife and I raised three daughters. All of them got married and moved away to within a minute of our home. We see them a lot, at least several times a week each.
I know what you're thinking. "Isn't it wonderful that your family lives so close?" It is. Some of the time.
Sometimes it's not entirely wonderful. For example, my wife watches two of our granddaughters during the week while their parents work. Because I work mainly from home, I end up working with kids, too.
Even so, we know that there is a beginning and an end. When girls leave at 5:30 p.m., the rest of the evening is ours.
Everything changed last week when one of my daughters (husband and five kids) moved into the house right across the street. This is the closest I've ever lived to family who were not actually living in the same house with me. It's this whole other family experience.
For example, the noisy neighbor kids who get on my nerves are now in all likelihood related to me. So when I come out on the porch to yell at them, I have to watch my language.
Formality has changed as well. The two granddaughters we tend would walk through the door unannounced every morning. But for some reason now that they live across the street, they have to ring the damn doorbell.
Conversely, there's no guarantee that I won't be awakened at some godless hour of the morning by a 5 year old thumbing open one of my eyelids, and asking to borrow two eggs "so we can have waffles."
This is a legitimate concern because it's already happened. I'll have to rehide that Hide-a-Key and change the code on the garage door opener.
I can't even back out of the garage the same way anymore. It's much more nerve-wracking when the bike you might run over is a bike you'll have to either fix or replace.
I forgot how much help kids want to be when you're doing something important. If I have my head stuck down the water meter hole, they'll "help" by running over my feet with a scooter. Maybe this isn't entirely a bad thing. After all, it cuts both ways. Yesterday, when I needed help lifting something enormous, I went across the street and got my son-in-law.
I've reached the age where things are starting to go wrong with my health that don't always involve an accidental injury. When those happen, I call the registered nurse family member. Same thing when my truck won't start. I call the one who likes to work on engines.
As my life winds down, I won't need to get a dog to sit with me under the arbor in the backyard. Not only can I borrow grandkids for that, they will probably bring their own dog.
Like I said, too much family depends on the family.