When I was about six months pregnant with my first daughter, I got in huge argument with my father. Because he lived so far away me, he wanted to book plane tickets to visit the baby well in advance, and he decided he was going to come on the day before I was due, and stay for a week.
I was not happy. Since it was my first pregnancy, I fully expected to deliver a week late and he'd miss the whole thing. And then be hanging around me while I was very heavily pregnant, and expecting to go out a lot. Plus I didn't really want my family (other than my husband) around when I was actually in labor.
We argued back and forth. Finally, I lied and said that they'd done an ultrasound and changed my due date to a week later. That convinced him.
I ended up delivering on time, but it actually worked out well having him there a week later, since that was when I was at my most sleep-deprived and grateful for the help.
At the same time, my mother traveled great distance to see her first grandchild for the first time. Unfortunately, she came down with a really nasty cold. I was terrified of having her near my newborn with that cold. I imagined the baby spiking a fever and ending up in the ER, and having to get an LP or something. But my mother was not exactly cool with the fact that she'd spent so much money traveling to see the baby, and now she had to stay away from her. She was angry at me for months over that one. (We still haven't decided who was right.)
I don't think I realized before I had kids how important it is to be near family. Other things that were annoying about living thousands of miles from any family members:
1) They didn't visit often
2) When they visited, the trips lasted for freaking ever until I couldn't take it another minute
3) When there was an emergency, we had no back-up we really trusted
4) No free babysitting
5) When one of us was sick, there was nobody around to give us a break aside from each other.
When I graduated from residency, my number one priority was to move closer to family. Right now, we live less than an hour's drive from my in-laws and much closer to my family too. It's not exactly right around the corner, but boy, does it make a huge difference. This time when I went into labor, I had a family member who came that very day to watch Mel. My parents were able to quickly make travel plans after I gave birth, and still arrived before I was discharged from the hospital.
We have family visiting almost every other weekend, which gives us a much needed break. When one of the kids is sick, I can often call my in-laws to come watch them if I know the night before.
I know other people who live in the same town or even the same house as family members. When I was younger, that would have been unacceptable to me, but now I'm jealous of those people. It's amazing how much of a difference having nearby family can make.