I used to travel a lot more regularly. I would mostly go to Stampin’ Up! conventions and leadership events. I even went on a cruise to Alaska with the company. After Brad died, I kept up the business travel for a while until my daughter arrived. Now, between her and my teaching job, I don’t go many places far away any more. I love being at home with my family.
But, what happens when part of your family isn’t at the place you call home?
When I was first married, we moved from Arizona to Texas. It was an exciting adventure for me. We were starry eyed and ready for a future all about us. After being there a while, we decided we really wanted to move back and be near family as we raised our own kids. Unfortunately, that was not to be. We could not find jobs in Arizona. We ended up moving all over the southern United States for 19+ years.
When you live far away from family, it kind of sucks, but you just have to deal with it. You find people to count on to watch your kids. You find people to spend holidays with. You find people that act as your surrogate family. We didn’t ‘like’ it, but it’s just what we had to do.
I always knew our families wished we were closer. I knew they were missing out on their grandkids growing up. Sure, we tried to visit and they tried to visit, but it wasn’t regular and it wasn’t enough to build those strong relationships we could have had if we were close. It was just a ‘bummer’.
Fast forward to now. Now I’M the grandma. I’m the one that doesn’t get to see all my grandkids grow up. I’m the one that doesn’t get that strong relationship. I tell you what, it is way more than a ‘bummer’ now.
I’m visiting my son and his little family. The youngest is one month. She is still building that relationship with her own mom. But the older child is one. I’ve gotten to visit him a few times in his short life and every time, we have to start over. He looks at me like I’m going to steal his lunch at first. Then, we might have a little moment when I give him food. Finally, we end up racing around in his wagon and building garages for his cars past bedtime. He cries at the door when I use the restroom. He cries when he has to go to bed. He brings me the books to read. We wrestle and snuggle and give hugs and my heart breaks in a thousand pieces because I know that we will probably have to start all over the next time I get to see him.
I have to go home, back to the others that need me. Back to my job. And he will probably cry a bit and wonder, but he will go on and start to forget all about me. I think about my parents and how many times they had to say goodbye and just go back to not being in my kids lives.
I’m so sorry we couldn’t be closer. I’m so sorry I didn’t do more to make sure they had relationships across the miles. I’m so sorry I can’t be with all my kids and grandkids every day to help them, teach them, and just love them.
Love is a wonderful thing. I love these kids with my whole heart. I love them so much it hurts.
Cause I said so.