Living Near Your Children…Bonus or Bad Move?

Written by Allen Unrau

livenearHalf a century ago most families stayed in the same area. You lived your life in close proximity to most of your relatives. Children would marry and move away from home. This “moving away from home” usually meant a few miles or at most it may have been the next town where they established their roots.

There is an old Dutch proverb that says: “A happy new home is one where you can’t see the smoke from your parent’s chimney.”  That may be true, but everyone you knew lived within an hour of each other.

Things changed dramatically in the last half of the century and Canadian families are now spread out geographically.

Children went to the city for further education and never returned to the area where they grew up.  Maybe they met their future husband or wife and ended up moving across the country when they married.  Good jobs required moves and relocation if you wanted to move up the ladder.  Transfers moved families all over this country.  You’ve done your best to keep in touch, but it’s just not been the same as living near your family.  Some of your grandchildren are already as tall as you and you don’t feel you really know them as well as you would like to.

Retirement gives you a lot of choices

Should you stay where you are or have you always wanted to move closer to your children and grandchildren? Do you know for sure that they want you closer to them?  Will you be able to make new friends when you move or will you be relying totally on your family for the relationships you need in your life?

Will you end up becoming a baby sitter, cook, cleaner and gardener for your adult children?  Maybe you can’t wait to be able to help them out, but you need to consider these things in advance.

What about your son-in-law or daughter-in-law?  How do they feel about having you closer?  Have you been open with each other and talked through all the issues in advance?  Do they have blended families and how will you grandparent role fit with stepchildren?

Maybe you are moving because of guilt. You feel that you haven’t spent enough time with them or they want you near because they feel guilty about not having made enough effort to get together with you in the past.  Adult children and their parents sometimes play games with each other.  Adult children may send messages they feel their parents want to hear or messages that will not upset their parent, rather than what is true.  So, be careful and above all be honest with each other before you pull up stakes.

What if you follow the kids and they don’t have time for you?

Remember, their life is probably a balancing act right now.  They are responsible for many things and many people and their schedule may be very full!  You probably have expectations about the help you would like from them at this stage of your life.  Can they meet your expectations and will it be a joy or a burden for them?

“Knowing what it would be like” is often difficult to achieve without “actually doing it.”  If you move, you would be wise to arrange for help from other sources for some of your needs so as not to rely totally on your family and overwhelm them. Make it a comfortable transition for everyone involved.

Do you get the feeling they want you closer?

If so, you are the most fortunate person in the world!  Seize the opportunity…family is everything!

Article © Allen Unrau, used with permission

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186 Responses to “Living Near Your Children…Bonus or Bad Move?”

  • Annie says:

    Thank you for “Living Near Your Children…Bonus or Bad Move?” I realize that this phase of life is more about feelings and not expectations. My daughter and her family ARE my family, as I am part of their’s. Beyond the practicalites of life situations, such as, emergencies, and the fun life events — who else would one want to share them with? My Mother tried to live nearby, I suppose it is either in one’s blood or not. This forum is a great place to see that no one is alone in these experiences. Though, I don’t understand why some responders have to make this be a religious experience. Moving is not a God thing, children and grandchildren are. It’s mostly about feelings …

  • Chris says:

    Kathy…i am reminded of deuteronomy 28 and malachi 3 where we are so blessed of God, we dont know where to store all of Gods mighty blessings and provisions. enjoy! its a great problem to have! psalm 127 and 128

  • Kathy says:

    I am so happy to see this forum. My husband and I moved to FLorida right after our youngest graduated college. We have 3 sons and they were living in different parts of the US and we were ready and willing for a climate change! We are still here 8 years later and love it. One of the boys just got married and the other 2 are following this year. They still live in 3 parts of the US and we want to be around when the grandkids come! We are thinking of moving back to one state that would be closest to 2 of them and about 5 hours from the other one. We still won’t live in the same town as any of them but we will be able to drive instead of fly. Also it will be closer to where we are orginally from. Right now the time we spend with the kids and there girlfriends/wives is FANTASTIC! We laugh and have such a great time. We see each other about 3 times a year, and we text weekly if not daily with all of them. My husband and I are active in Florida doing things we love, and we work full time too. BUT, when the grandkids come, I am afraid that we will want to be with them all the time. We can’t be in 3 places at one time and not sure what to do and if it will be the right move. We pray about this all of the time.

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Susan, there is probably not a single “best possible answer” to your situation. “It all depends” on the particular people and families as it has worked out well both ways and also failed both ways. Mary Ann’s advice is a good place to start but do bathe whatever you do in prayer and quiet waiting.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Susan, what an exciting decision you have ahead of you. There seems to be nothing to tie you to PA, and many good reasons to consider a move to Utah. This forum has focused on expectations of both adult children as well as their parents. Have you thoroughly discussed this decision with your daughters? How do they feel about you being closer (in miles) to them? They and their friends may enjoy including you in their activities when you’re just visiting, but may not want to make it a regular practice.

    Have you considered an extended stay in Utah to get a better idea of what daily life may present? It would probably be a good idea to rent a place of your own for a month or so, rather than stay with your daughters. Do you and your boyfriend have mutual friends with activities/interests in common? It’s essential to have activities of your own and not depend on your daughters to buddy with. Whatever you do, don’t center your life around your daughters or expect them to treat you as they do when you come for a visit. Talk with them about your hopes and expectations before your make such an important decision.

  • Susan says:

    Chris,
    I am not saying that I feel that I will be interferring into my daughters lives. What I was saying is… I would like to live in the same state as my children and respect their and my independences just as it would if they never moved away. The posts here on this site are stating not to move near your children for you never see them. Well, they have lives and will be busy with their families just as we were. But that does not mean you can not move near them and enjoy making a life for yourself or get involved with your children and grandchildren by helping with carpools and participate in the events of your family. I have a fantasic relationship with my daughters, they miss me and would love for me to live in Utah near them. I am trying to make it happen. What worries me more is the marriage thing…. But that is a different topic. Remember Lot’s Wife

  • Mary says:

    Susan,your plan of moving sounds great.I agree it’s lonley living alone with a cat.Always remember you have to draw a fine line between yourself and the children,never to expect much and never to interfere in Thier private lives.Good Luck.

  • Chris says:

    susan…the fact that you are your childrens mother will never change. that doesnt mean you are interferring in their married lives. how many of us who have now lost our parents would love to be able to have them close to us once more. proverbs 10.22 is clear. that god loves to make us happy in him and doesnt punish us for rejoicing in his goodness as jeremiah 31 also reads. be led of the lord to be led into your personal promised land. dont let false concepts of what it means to be a blessed mother and possible future wife stop you from enjoying the abundant life that jesus said he had come to give us. John 10.10. blessings to you today susan!!

  • Susan says:

    Okay…. so I live in Pa and all three of my daughters live in Utah as they go to school. The middle will be graduating soon with a move to California with her husband. That leaves two still in Utah, my baby with three years of school yet. My oldest who already has graduated and is working in Utah as an editor for a tv show. I am debating on moving to Utah. There is also a man I have been dating long distance for two years now, also in Utah. He talks of marriage which I feel both excited about and scared out of my mind. I feel to just stay put and settle in Pa with no children no boyfriend no friends for they are always so busy with their families. It is lonely just sitting in my house with my cat. Moving to Utah will give me at least two children for awhile, dating, and closed to California for visits. When I go to visit Utah now, I have a blast. I stay with my children and their roommates. All of their friends invite me to join in the games and fun aventures. I love them all. And they love me. By moving i do not believe introding in their live but to be closer for days of lunch, dinners, shopping, sports, whatever comes of it. It has to be better then only knowing my children through facebook and skype. At lest three more years of it. For once the two get married who knows where they will end up. But by that time I may be married and we may all end up in California for that is where they want to end up. The Scriptures say, we are to find joy, we are to trade our talents(teach others), educate ourselves, the past is for our learning not to settle, we are to live as well as we can and explore as much as we can. You may always travel back to visit friends just as you may travel to visit you children. But I would rather see my friends a week out of the year and 100 or more with my children. I want to work, live in my own place, have a relationship, and see my girls as much as i can. I am studying nursing so I may get a job anywhere the same as a roof over my head. So why not ..???

  • Chris says:

    Annonamous…so sad to hear of your struggles. from the bible we are told that God has plan for our lives, something much more tan many times we are living, being more than what we have been, being made into the likness of jesus himself. you mentioned the wisdom of Solomon, that is great to know you realize that it takes godly wisdom to live successfully in this world. Gods Word does have the answers we need as we let the holy spirit direct our steps into his perfect will to serve and love the lord jesus christ with all our hearts and lives is still truly the greatest reason to live. if you dont know the savior you can find out more how to on knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above for more personalized information. i do pray that jesus would lead you in his plan for your life, so that you would be where he wants you to be, being fruitful in his kingdom and prospering in your body and soul according to 3 John 2 in jesus name amen!

  • Annonamous says:

    I am a retired nurse.
    Raised my children in this area and lived here for 40 years. Have friends and acquaintances but less frequent activities with them due to declining energy level. I appreciate my friends, but do not interact on a daily level. My own extended family are in the midwest. I long for family interaction but do realize that can also bring misunderstanding and pain. the question is : which is more painful, loneliness or being misunderstood. When we become older, we carry some sadness with us due to lost friendships and death of loved ones. We long for full acceptance and nurture. We need to heal our wounds. I have 3 adult kids with families. They are urging for me to move closer to one of them, partly due to the fact that I have a serious disease diagnosis. Fortunately, I don’t have any symptoms yet, so able to live on my own.One needs the “wisdom of Solomon” to make good decisions. It’s difficult to give up old friends. Another factor that would make moving a good thing is the fact that I have asthma. This area has a lot of wood smoke in the winter and grass and forest fire smoke every summer, which makes the asthma much worse.I moved to the wrong area in 1975, not knowing that I eventually would develop asthma.I welcome every chance to “get away” during the worst smoky times.My need for clear fresh air is greater than my attachment to friends, even though I love them dearly!

  • Chris says:

    marilu…i am sorry to hear of your lonliness. life can be that way as the children grow up and move on and others leave this world, but one friend we can always count on is jesus christ. i can vouch that for 40 years, although i have lost parents, been abandoned by my wife and children and am now living in a developing country outside of the usa, that jesus is and always will be my best friend and comforter and he can be yours too! if you would like more information on making jesus your best friend and savior, log onto…knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above for more personalized attention. i pray that you would find the christ who is available to all. a rock that never fails and his people, the family of God in the earth, a chrisian church, with whom you can enjoy divine fellowship. blessings!!

  • Marilu says:

    I moved to live closer to my daughter and son-in-law because my youngest daughter moved to another country to get married. I am also a divorced woman and a single mom who struggled to make a living for many years while my girls were growing up, I did whatever was necessary to encourage them to finish college and they have done that. So I moved to the town my oldest daughter lives it was also closer to my father and a brother and sister in law. Last November 2013 my dad died and I am glad I was able to visit him before he passed. A few months later my ex husband passed away at 55 and left my daughters a very nice life insurance policy. They have helped me a lot financially with the money because their dad owed me money from the divorce. I have made a few friends here but they are very busy. i tpreally miss my best friend in the hometown but she has all her children and grandchildren very close some living with her and her mother is still alive. I lost my mother, sister, father and ex husband within a few years time, I also feel that I lost my youngest daughter too when she moved to another country, my best friend keeps telling me to. Move back but I know she would have no more time for me than my oldest daughter has, my daughter is wonderful to me and I try not to bother them a lot, I will see them once a week at least. Life can be very lonely as a single retired person, I have joined a social group and plan to take keyboard lessons and I have my pets..trying my best. I don’t feel comfortable in the town yet and miss my hometown but I think I would be just as sad there – it’s just difficult and I’m trying to make the best of it.

  • Mary Pinckney Mary Pinckney says:

    Father, I pray for your guidance and direction in each and every situation. I pray that you will lead them as to the best option for all involved. Your Word says that you guide us with your eyes upon us. May they find peace and rest in your guidance. In Jesus name Amen

  • Janet says:

    Eileen, I don’t think moving near your children is a mistake as long as your expectations are realistic. I moved 7 years ago because of my husband’s job although the fact that two of my three children were in the same town was definitely a plus in my mind. And my daughter-in-law was pregnant at the time with my second grandchild. The experience has certainly had its ups and downs and some hurt feelings along the way. I cherish the time I get to spend with all of them, especially being able to see the grandkids’ sporting and school events. When we first moved here we would all get together at least twice a week. Then it dwindled to Sunday dinner and maybe picking the grandkids up another evening. Now we are lucky to be able to do that. Is it because the kids don’t want to spend time with us? I don’t think so (although at times that thought did enter my mind). Time is a commodity for all of us. Especially when there are children involed and the parents are running them here and there from the moment you leave work. I also have a full-time job and so enjoy some down time in the evenings as well. The most difficult aspect of moving was leaving my friends behind. I have worked a half dozen jobs since moving here and while I like most of my coworkers, the majority are my kids’ ages and so the void of friendship has not been filled. And I can’t expect my kids to be the substitute friends that I no longer have and even if they attempted to, our interests and lives are at different ends of the spectrum. There has definitely been disagreements between us all that wouldn’t have happened if we lived apart. And some of them were pretty ugly. I was also disappointed that my daughter-in-law whose own mother is deceased, didn’t try to forge a closer relationship with me. But I have come to realize that my resentment all stemmed from the lack of women friends in my life. And even if my kids were with us 24/7 that wouldn’t fill that void. As they say it is what it is. I am thankful to see my grandkids grow up, to have a close relationship with them. But if given the choice of moving or not, I wouldn’t. I believe that you can have fabulous relationships with your kids/grandkids with all the technology available. And you can always plan to see them or have them visit a couple weeks out of the year. There is not easy answer to this question. I think each individual has to weigh the pros and cons, take into consideration how open you are to moving and starting all over again. Because to a point you do need to start fresh. And decide if you will be content with the time that your family has to give you. Good luck………….

  • Eileen says:

    I am so grateful to have read these posts from parents who moved to be near their children and grandchildren. I was thinking about moving because my daughter has 2 young children one who has health issues. I know my desire to move closer is to fill in the time that I am alone. I realize that what I want with my daughter and her family is not possible. Thank you all. I think you have prevented me from making a BIG mistake. Thanks,

  • Mary says:

    Nana,sorry misprint.
    He should not expect you to pay a hefty price.

  • Mary says:

    Nana,Sorry couldn’t reply earlier ,I was travelling.
    Your husband may not like you meeting with your daughter that’s too bad,you must not give up your children and grand children.He has to learn to like them. Your relationship with your husband is important but he should expect you to pay a hefty price for that. You must have children come over,just respect his privacy and don’t interrupt his routine.

  • nana says:

    I have a husband that is nit the father to my daughter we live 2 hours awsy and everytime I want to do things with my girks hedoesnt want me to I tell him well Iin going to have my grandkids over forbthe summer and he hesitate. I feel I have to be to do stuff for my girls h grandkids I have to ask to but them a toy im a bargin choppet s I whats the deal we both bring in money pill r being paid why is that ?

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.
    Thank you Mary and Flo for your responses to this article. I pray that the Lord our God will bless you both, in Jesus name Amen

  • Mary says:

    Agree with Flo just visit children and grandchildren but everyone need their space.It s better for everyone to have their own lives ,it’s no use giving up your own life to be with children.

  • Mary says:

    Living through change at present moment and strongly recommend not to follow children.Parenst miss children but children have Thier own lives,family and friends.One cannot enter their lives and expect un- divided attention.
    Parenst must learn to enjoy each others company,have their own routine and maintain Thier own social circle.Travel,dine ,entertain enjoy your own lives.Must always maintain your own independent house as in your son or daughter’s house you become second class citizen.

  • Flo says:

    Personal experience – not a good idea. We (bro & me) suggested my widowed Mom make a list of pros and cons before she moved. She didn`t and came from another country. Eventually moved back but was difficult and said she wished she`d taken our advice. She expected the same amount of time with us as on her visits – not possible. Nearly broke up my marriage. I know 3 close people who moved to be with children and they missed their old friends and are unhappy. Stay where you are and visit. Rent a place for 6 months near your children if you insist and try it out first.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Nikki thanks for weighing in on this subject! Your point is very well made!!! Any decision to move closer to children has got to be discussed and talked through with the families that are impacted!

    I also really liked what you said about ‘not imposing yourself into their lives for your own emotional reasons’……well said! There is a reason that the bible says that children are to leave their parents and cleave to their spouse! There are many parents that have to learn that as well….that they need to let go and allow their children to be independent adults.

  • Rashid says:

    Niki
    you are right about grand parents because of my wife parents wanted her to live with them and children live with their daughter grand parents did not have friends and close family person so they asked other daughter to live in their home but she refused it then they start to make bad relation between us so they can live with daughter without me only way they thought will happen if divorce come in to picture and they succeed just for their loneliness grandparents destroyed the life of my children. My parents are happy as long as we are happy they did not care where we live as long as we are happy some grand parents have best life and they have plenty friend they don’t get involoved in children life they help if children need but not get involoved in their business most marriage get destroyed by grandparents.

  • Niki says:

    Just to share an adult child’s perspective who is currently in this situation — My husband’s parents have followed us wherever we have moved without asking for our input. It has caused a severe rift in our relationship with them. They recently put a bid on a house in our neighborhood without asking for our input, even though we had asked for a privacy bubble. It felt invasive and even threatening to our family.

    If your goal in moving closer to your children is an enriched relationship with them, really make sure that you are respecting their input and not imposing yourself into their lives for your own emotional reasons. A relationship with adult children should be mutually beneficial by both parties’ standards. . If you impose yourself upon your children and insert yourself into their lives without respecting their boundaries, they will likely push you away. If you treat them with respect and honor their independence, they will likely want to spend more time with you.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Janet,
    Very well said and that was exactly what I was saying in my earlier comment, that it truly is all about expectations. If they are realistic and we don’t make our joy or happiness dependent on our children then we have a hope for a good relationships.

  • Janet says:

    I am fortunate enough to be able to say that I think my kids/grandkids still enjoy spending time with my husband and I. The kicker is that it has to be at their convenience. It almost as if they don’t think we have “lives” and should be available at their whims. And no, we don’t have the busy lives they do, especially the son with the children. But sometimes there is something in particular we want to do on the weekend, and if because of it we say no to a dinner or an outing, feelings are hurt. But if the tables are turned, we should be accepting.

    I wouldn’t go as far to say as not to move near your children. I would just advise that your expectations are realistic. Also it is important to establish your own life with boundaries so that your world doesn’t revolve around your kids and grandkids, because as their lives change and get busier, you will find yourself alone more and more.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Michele,
    Thanks for weighing in from a daughter’s perspective! My heart goes out to all of you that have taken the time to comment on this thread. There are just so many unmet expectations! And maybe that is the culprit…our own expectations of one another, whether as parents of our children and grandchildren, and as children of our parents. I know that when I have unmet expectations it colors our relationships for sure.

    Instead, I have tried to look at all I can be thankful for, the relationships we do have with both our son and his family who live here in the same city as us, and with our daughters who live far away.If I expect my children and grandchildren to meet my needs for socialization, of course I will be disappointed. We need to have our own friends that we do things with and interact with.

    Aurora,
    I would beg to differ with your comment that children don’t enjoy their parent’s company once they have their own families. All three of our children still invite us and want to spend time with us, even if it isn’t as often as we would like. I think that is a generalization that isn’t true is all cases that’s for sure.

  • Aurora . says:

    JANET,
    Thank you for clearing up things,I can relate to your experience ,the closer one get to children there are more resentment ,disappointments and mis understandings.Retirment age one needs to make priortiese.
    1) Personal residence.
    2) Strong Finacially.
    3) Daily Routine.
    4) Social Circle.
    Children do not enjoy company of Parents once they have their own famalies.

  • annjilly says:

    I have been reading the last few postings and did appreciate the one from the daughter and how she feels about her parents moving. We have been planning our move for 7 months. I have two wonderful grandchildren for which I have taken care of since they were born. They are now 6 and 9 and very involved in their school, activities and friends. My daughter is not happy about the move, actually she has become stand offish or ambivalent. She is letting us spend a lot of time with the grandchildren picking them up after school and of course it save her after care costs. The grandchildren seem to be okay with this but my adult daughter who lives nearby is very passive in her emotions to us. I get the idea it is more like withholding her sadness. This decision of ours to move came through a lot of soul searching. My husband and I both are young seniors, husband still works part time will retire at end of year completely from work. Illinois is not near as cheap to live as our location in Florida we will cut our living expenses practically in half. Other than discussing returning to IL for Christmas my daughter does not participate in the conversation. When we return to IL we either stay in a hotel or with friends she has not any suggested how she could accommodate us. Finally I have a daughter than lives in the island a short flight from Florida and she can spend more time with us. Sibling rivalry never ends.

  • Janet says:

    Of course the first order of business after moving here was finding a new job. I had been in my previous position for 7 years and so had become quite comfortable. As I said previously we moved right as the economy was tanking. But I did manage to land a job immediately. We moved from an community of 12,0000 to the 15th or 16th largest city in the country. Another culture shock. I liked my first job, liked the ladies I worked with, but I was not prepared for the commute. My 8 hour day became a 10 hour day because of it. So I found yet another job, but still wasn’t what I was looking for. After 4 years I ended up where I wanted to be. The downside? Most of the ladies in the office are two or three decades younger than I am. I like them just fine, and we all get along. And I have to give them credit, they always include me in on any outside of work activities. But we are in completely different stages of our lives. They are friendships, but not the like the ones I left behind.

    My relationship with my husband is rocky at best. I have tried discussing with him our need to find a life outside of the kids. His world revolves around the grandkids. He wants to be at every game and every activity. And while I enjoy it, I already went through this phase once with my own kids. I am interested in doing something else now. We can’t seem to get on the same page about this and he certainly does not fill the void of friendship, where you can let your hair down and say what you need to say.

    I try to tell myself that things could be so much worse. I see people every day that are hanging on by a thread, either emotionally or financially. But it doesn’t diminish the feelings of regret that I have. I would do it all differently if I could, a mantra that so many of us say.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Dear Janet,

    I can relate to the disappointment of how our grandchildren relate (or not) to us as they grow out of their childhood days which were so easy for us as grandparents. The days of being thrilled to bake brownies and play with Barbie seem ages away. We relocated several hundred miles away when we retired, because our children and grands were already enmeshed in their own lives and we didn’t feel needed. We visit them often and when they are here, we are forced to set our own rules about electronics at the table, etc., but if I had to deal with it on a regular basis, it test my patience.

    These threads often reflect similar themes when it comes to disappointment with availability of children/grandchildren. It especially saddens me when I read that included in that disappointment you seem to regret leaving friends and would choose to be with them above your life partner. A long distance marriage would be lonely….don’t you think? I greatly enjoy my “girlfriends”, but our relationships are very different than my relationship with the man I chose to live with for life. I hope you will reconnect with your husband before you think of anything else that might bring happiness. If you can’t imagine that, perhaps counseling should be a consideration.

    Your attitude about your adult children and grandchildren is healthy, even though it’s painful at times — they’re busy. It’s not our business to judge if they’ve signed their kids up for too many sports, etc. Their life! At this point we parents must establish our own activities that don’t involve “twiddling our thumbs”, rather than rely on our children and grandchildren to be in our lives on a regular basis. Maybe this Christmas, you and your husband can have a special family celebration before the kids leave to see your daughter-in-law’s dad (not unreasonable), then you can visit friends you haven’t seen for awhile.

    If you’ve been in your present community for seven years, you have hopefully established acquaintances that can develop into meaningful friendships. Choose your lifestyle….build it around what YOU control and ENJOY!!!

  • Rashid says:

    Janet
    Don’t move because you want to move closer to kids. I agree with you.
    is saying when your son get married you lose son and when daughter got married you gain son.
    Some cases is exceptional but it is better that kids should live away from grand parent. I think grand parents should not move children come during holiday that is more fun. My marriage was failed because we was living closer if I ever marry I will live away

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Janet, thank you for opening up and sharing your experience and insight with others regarding this topic. It is good to hear that you realize that you are not alone…others have or are going through similar situations. I relocated to a different state about five years ago. The first year was the toughest. Went through the “empty nest” season with my adult daughters and grandson living many miles away. Then I had to learn how to make new, genuine friendships in mid life. I found that getting involved in my local church made a huge difference. Reaching out to volunteer and leading women’s small groups around interest that I am passionate about have been a blessing. Have you tried to make new friendships where you currently reside?

  • Janet says:

    It was interesting reading about other people going through the same issues that I am. Maybe not exactly, but close enough to realize that I am not alone which in some ways is comforting. I moved 7 years ago because of my husband’s job. We couldn’t sell our house because of the economy at the time and went through some very stressful times, financial and mental, because of renters from hell. But that’s a different story. I had my misgivings about the move, but my two older sons had moved here already and my son and daughter-in-law were expecting their second child. I left my friends, my home and my job. I don’t know exactly what I thought I would find relocating at 54 years old, but it certainly wasn’t this.

    At first we saw the kids and their families quite often, once or twice a week. It has now dwindled down to a couple of times a month and honestly it is getting to a point that I don’t care if we do that. Everyone sits at the table with their phones and texts or surfs or whatever. Having a conversation where everyone is involved is too much to ask. When my grandchildren were younger, we did a lot of baby-sitting so at least we got to build a relationship/memories with them. In fact we even vacationed a few times together.

    But things were not as perfect as it looked. In the seven years I have been here my daughter-in-law and I have spent time together exactly twice. It is obvious to me that she has no interest in building a relationship with me and I have been mindful not to be a meddling mother-in-law. As my sons got more involved in their careers and interests I saw less and less of them (unless they needed a favor). Do I resent them their independence? Not at all, your kids are supposed to grow up and grow away from you. But here I sit almost 7 years later twiddling my thumbs because my friends are all back home. The grandkids, who we spent time with on a regular basis, are growing up quickly and doing their own thing. If I want to see them I need to go to one of their sporting events. It is fun to watch them play their various sports, but there is no one-on-one interaction. And holidays? That is the best part of all. My son and his family go home to her dad’s for all holidays. So here my husband and I sit all alone. And the reasoning behind that? Because we get to see them all the time, and her family only gets to see them for the holidays.

    I didn’t move to be closer proximity to my kids although I thought it was going to be a definite plus. I moved because of financial reasons. But from what I have learned, if you are thinking of moving closer to your kids so that you can be a part of their lives, don’t do it. All my kids do is carpool their kids around because they have them booked into too many activities. The days of just hanging out are over. It is just the way of the world I guess. Don’t get me wrong, family is wonderful but it becomes a smaller part of our lives as the kids develop their lives. And that’s how it should be. At this point in our lives I think friends are a lifeline. I wish I had mine back. If I had it to do all over again, I would have stayed put. My husband and I could have had a long distance marriage.

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