We think of ourselves as pretty settled. While we believe we’d up and move if we felt the Lord’s leading, we’re fairly content where we are as well.
However firmly rooted we think we are, however, it does not insulate us from fairly significant shifts in our world. 🙂 The past few months have brought some changes (and inspired still more) in our extended family, and I find it’s new ground to navigate.
Hubby is the middle of 3 children: A sister 4 years elder, and another one 6 years junior. Both married, one with 3 kids (18, 17, 8) and the other with a little girl Miss Pleasant’s age (3!). Over the years there has been dream-talk about moving away to their favorite vacation area, mostly by Hubby’s parents and younger sister. Once, after they’d enjoyed a joint road trip vacation, my father-in-law asked Hubby if he’d ever be willing or interested in moving there… NO was Hubby’s fairly straightforward answer. 🙂 His older sister held the same opinion, more or less.
Last Spring, on a lark, my younger sister-in-law’s husband did a search for jobs he was qualified for in that area, and applied for one… An interview prompted another joint-family trip (albeit for the weekend, not any longer) and he got the job. All of a sudden, dream-talk was becoming reality.
And reality is a little harder to work with, sometimes. 🙂
My mother-in-law is really close to her youngest daughter (both of them really, but she’s been a close part of daily life for my SIL and her daughter), and both of them realized they were facing a very real, fairly distant (a long day’s drive, about as far as my folks are from us, but not in the same direction) separation, for the first time ever. They had a few weeks to pack and move, and in the midst of it Mom came to (better) terms with it… This had been their dream, after all! They might as well give it a try! She went with them to help them move, and then was back for a week or two before they all (my FIL and other SIL and kids too) met for their previously-planned vacation.
When they (most of them) returned, Mom told me that she and Papa were aiming in the direction of eventually, maybe, if things worked out, moving to the same area at some point (but no hurry). Then she invited Big Sister for an overnight stay at her house. I thought she would love to do that, but was surprised when she became upset, being fearful (?) of staying overnight (she’s stayed the night a time or two elsewhere, though it’s not a habit)! Grandma accommodated her wonderfully, and came and got her in the morning instead. They spent a lovely day (according to Big Sister) together, just the two of them. Of course, the rest of the girls were clamoring for the same chance, so the next week she took Little Artist. Organique asked every day if Grandma was coming for her the next day, but on Wednesday of the following week, I got a text message saying she was busy preparing for a trip to see her daughter, and would have to catch up with Organique in 2 weeks when she returned.
One week in, I got another text message, saying she had begun the process of transferring her nursing license to that state.
“Oh, so you might be moving sooner, rather than later…?”
“I might have already done just that.”
She went on to say that it was really hard, that my other SIL was having a hard time with it too. I told her we would surely miss her (especially Organique, who was still asking about “her day with grandma”), but obviously one cannot be in two places at once, and must make a choice. She agreed and said she would be back with my younger SIL in September for a time, and might try to have that day with her then. (Since writing that, they changed plans and came in August instead. She and my SIL and her daughter were able to spend time with both Organique and Miss Pleasant, on different days. They’re still talking about it.)
I am at once excited for them; glad they have the courage to make a fairly drastic move (my in-laws met at a swimming pool not far from here. They were both born and bred here, and most of their families are still here) at their stage of life, excited for what their future holds… And I’m also really sad. They just finally started to spend (one-on-one) time with their grandkids – outside of busy holidays or crowded birthday parties – and
before they can spend even one day with each of them. now… Gone. Done.
In all honesty though, I realize how absurd all of that is. Let me think… who left all their family to go teach in a little hole-in-the-wall church school? Who quit college and her ‘future’ to join with some people she hardly knew, in a place far-removed from most of her family and friends (and somewhat-removed from the rest) and then got married to a 3rd+ generation local? Um, that would be ME. Hel-lo. If I am disappointed that my children don’t have close, involved grandparents I have no one but myself to blame!
And, in [even more] honesty, due to the nature of things, my kids actually spend more time with my parents than my in-laws, even though my folks are 12 hours away. We might not see each other on a weekly basis (nor do we see my in-laws that often), but when we do spend time together, it is for a considerable duration. No brief stops in the midst of errands, but days on end, with them as overnight guests, or us staying with them. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime… That has made for a closeness with my folks, even if they’re not next door. So who is to say that having all the grandparents a day’s drive away won’t actually increase the quality of the relationship?? Certainly that is possible; perhaps likely.
One thing that will be entirely different though is holidays. What will we do on Thanksgiving? Will we eat Christmas dinner while A Christmas Story plays on a never-ending loop?? I have the same mixed feelings about this. Sad, that our regularly-scheduled traditions won’t apply, but also excited about other possibilities. Will we do our own thing, and create new traditions? Will we invite other individuals, other families to join us? It all remains to be seen, but navigating these changes will be interesting, for sure. And God will do good things in all of us, no doubt.