My oldest and his family are in the beginning stages of a big move. He took a new job and it is moving his family to another state. They are learning many life lessons along the way. I am doing my best at trying to let them learn them and not stepping in to fix everything. Not that I CAN fix everything, but as a mom I always want to fix it, make it better, make it easier. As they struggle and succeed and strive and accomplish many things, I am very proud of the adults they have become.
At the same time, I sit and hold back the tears as they will for the first time be far enough away that I can’t go see them and come home the same day. It will be the first time in their very short little lives that my granddaughters go a prolonged period of time without me seeing them, and no, Facetime and Skype are not the same. I love being involved in their routines. Taking one out for treats the day before school starts, attending Christmas programs, open houses at school etc. It will be so different now. If I didn’t still have one of my own in Junior High, I would probably up and move right along with the oldest and his family!
Now I have to plan trips and know about special events in their lives via texts and emails and photos on Facebook.
But even more so than my own sadness mixed with joy for them and their new adventures, I am heartbroken for them. You see, one of their big fears, worries, thoughts during this whole process is how much of their family they will not see at all or very rarely. Some of their family doesn’t travel much and believes they should come back to see them all the time. Some of their family is just so self absorbed that they can’t put anyone or anything above themselves.
You see, they are only an hour and a half from all of us currently and I am the only one who attends events and visits regularly, and I do a poor job at it, so imagine how bad the rest are.
Now with being 12 hours away what will happen?
This is definitely one of those things I wish I could fix for them. I know we often learn lessons the hard way, and even worse, we learn them too late. But how do you teach a lesson to someone who doesn’t know or think they have a lesson to learn? Sometimes I want to shake by the shoulders my daughter-in-law’s father and ask him how he doesn’t see the hurt in his daughter’s eyes or hear it in her voice. Sometimes I want to scream at my ex husband, how can he say those things to our children, how does he not understand how devastating and hurtful his actions are to others?
Knowing that I cannot fix this, or change these people, how do I fight the urge to compensate, or in my case overcompensate, for what I feel they are lacking from their other family members? I want to give more, do more, be more. I do know that I can never give, do, or be enough to make up for what a child lacks from a parent. And I do know that no matter what I say or do, the other parents will never see what I see.
So I concentrate on what I can do and be for them.
I miss them terribly now that they are all moved and getting settled in their new life. I want to text and call them every day, but I know that is a little much. I try to put days between our contact, but I like knowing what is going on every day. Nosey? Caring? Overbearing? I try to think back to how often did I have contact with my parents when I first moved away, seems like a lifetime ago. I have already bought my first plane ticket to go visit and can hardly wait. I try not to ask every time I speak with them if anyone else has plans to visit. I guess there is that part of me that wants to know so I know what I need to make up for…but then again, I don’t want to know because my heart breaks for them. So I decide not to ask, as asking only makes them think about it, as well.
As I begin my Christmas shopping, I wonder to myself if they will get anything from the other family members, or is it out of sight, out mind? See, why does my mind go down that road; Nosey? Caring? Overbearing?
As I look in my cart I wonder if indeed I am trying to compensate for what I think might be lacking. I decide no, I always go overboard at Christmas where my kids are concerned, why do I think it would be different now!
I am truly excited for this new adventure they have begun and I am beyond words proud of how they are growing within the experience. At the same time, I miss them like crazy and the countdown has begun until I will deplane and see their loving faces in person!
Do you have an empty nest? Do you have children/grandchildren who live afar? How much contact is too much? How often do you visit? If you have any tips for me I would love to hear them!