From what I’ve noticed, parents seem to be split into two camps on the whole ‘Kids moving away to start a better life’ thing.
It’s either “We sure will miss you, but how great that you’re doing something that makes you happy” or the less popular “How dare you leave me all alone without my grandchildren when I’ve spend three decades raising you”
And yet in our family at least, although we are strongly in favour of the guilt and tears approach, I wonder what difference it would make if everyone lived in one place. Because we all did, once upon a time. Four parents and all six of our parents children lived here, in London, less than 20 minutes away from each other. Yet as a family, I remember maybe a handful of family events which we were all present at, I know for sure that the first time myself and my two siblings went out together was when I turned 18, I know that Sundays was family time (in name at least), which consisted of hasty and disorganised visits to various family members, which have been or could easily be replaced with friendlier, happier ‘skype dates.’
I recently moved house, 2 minutes down the road. But in thinking how many times some of our parents visited our last flat, I came up with a number I can count on one hand. It’s really not that different to the amount of times they may have visited America or Israel in the past few years. In terms of spontaneous phone calls or get togethers, I would say the same thing.
I hear wistful
excuses stories from many Left Behind Grandparents about the ‘other grandparents’ (some closer in distance, some not) who have special relationships with their same grandkids. He reads them stories on skype / She takes them out on trips one on one / Oh they have much more energy and money than I could ever have.. I dont deny that these statements come from love and hurt, but I do refute the very concept that they couldnt have the exact same relationships with a bit more effort.
So whenever we do decide to up and move, which I assure you despite talking about it openly for the past 5 years will come as the biggest shock to the parental unit, how can I feel guilty? How can I hold our family back from an exciting new stage in our lives, when I truly believe the problem lies in the attitude not the location?
As time goes on and distance becomes an even smaller hurdle than it has been over the last decade, with new technology and travel options appearing all the time, I hope that this can change, and that Raphael can enjoy a long happy relationship with his surviving grandparents… Because while it would be so sad if he doesnt, I wont blame the miles between us.