D and I do not have any kids…yet. But we do have parents. Our respective parents have each been married for 33 (this year 34!) years. Atypical by today’s standards perhaps.
D and I have both gone to college, and then to higher education meaning our parents have had to see us move out. I remember when I went to college in another state. Now I was still on the east coast but about an hour flight (or 7 hour drive) away. I knew I wanted to come back to my home state to live so it seemed like a good idea to go away for a few years. My parents were both excited for me. For the opportunities I would have and the adventure I was undergoing. They knew my intentions were to return to my home state, but there was always the chance that wouldn’t happen. And so they said good-bye. Although I am sure both were sad to see me go, my father had a harder time. But I came home for all the holidays, called quite frequently (first time I owned my own cell phone!) and lived at home during the summer. I did eventually go to grad school and actually lived at home with them during school (that could be a whole book about that experience!). I met a great guy, D, got married and moved to the next town over.
Now to put this blog in perspective, I grew up with all of my grandparents no more than a 25 minutes drive away. This was what I had expected for my kids. When I met D and fell in love, I realized this was not going to be our reality. The best I could hope for was to live near one set of grandparents and visit the other often.
One other thing, my father has a close relationship with his brother. Really close. They talk multiple times a day. So when my uncle moved to Florida, it was hard on my dad. Once my uncle moved there full time (instead of 1/2 the year) my dad started talking about moving to Florida himself. For years he discussed it but my mother kept saying no. Finally she agreed. Now he just had to wait for my brother to move out. About a month ago he did. The next week, my dad had a realtor come to the house. And now their house is on the market. Once it sells, they are heading to Florida.
So I am in the reverse position. Now I am dealing with parents who are moving away from me. And let me tell you, it is difficult. I support my parents selling the house and moving into a condo. I support my dad being able to retire. I do. But I’ll be somewhat selfish, I want them here. I am now left with ZERO grandparents close by for my kids. Yes I know with technology they can skype and chat and email all the time. We’ll go visit them and they’ll come visit us. It isn’t the same. When my kid is sick and I need an “experienced” mother to offer a second opinion, they won’t be nearby. If my kids really want to see grandma and grandpa (or whatever they want to be called … TBD) it won’t be possible. There will have to be planes and tickets and vacation days involved. I was lucky. If I wanted to see my grandparents, I did. I don’t remember ever missing them (until they passed away obviously). And what about my parents and in-laws? If they want to see their grandkids it won’t be so easy.
I want it all. I understand families are changing and everyone living in the same town for their whole lives is less likely. I do. I get it. But I still feel sorry for myself (and my siblings). But mostly, I feel sorry for my future kids. I think I am a better person for having involved grandparents who lived so close.