Family

I dropped my parents off at the airport early on New Year’s Day. I think this was the first time since I moved to Winnipeg that I cried when we said goodbye. I guess having Evan has really made me realize how important family is.

It makes me sad that we live so far away from everyone: my parents are in Calgary, my brother is in Europe, and DH’s family are out West too. We’ll be lucky if Evan can see his family once a year.

That’s the way I grew up as well. We would visit our grandmothers, who both lived in Saskatchewan, about once a year. I remember having a blast, but never felt really close to either of them. It breaks my heart that it could be the same for Evan. Luckily, my Mom’s sister and her family also lived in Calgary, so we were always much closer. Maybe things like video chatting will help, but it’s not the same.

I guess it’s the way life goes though: children grow up and leave the nest. These days, a lot more of us are moving out of our home towns, even across the country, or across the globe. It broadens our horizons, opens more doors, and can be an adventure, but it also takes us away from our homes and families. It saddens me that, one day, Evan will do the same.

I think I’m feeling extra emotional about this because today is my first full day at home alone with Evan. How is it that a 10+ pound little baby can be so intimidating?! It would be nice if we had more people around to lean on. We don’t have a huge support system here – no family at all.

If you live far from your family, how do you foster a close relationship for yourself and/or for your children?

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Comments on: "Family" (8)

  1. Ugh, I hate this and I can so relate. We're only about 6 hours drive from most of my family, but we're really far from ecogeoman's family. No matter where we live, we're going to be really really far from at least one of them. At least with Skype and all that it's easier/cheaper to talk.

    The good thing is that kids seem to know who family is, and take to them really quickly during visits.

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  2. Jenn, PhD said:

    hugs Alyssa! We're much in the same boat, though we recently moved back to DH's “home”, at least his home country… It makes me sad too that lives get so spread apart. Skype helps! And good luck home with Evan. It will get easier once you find a routine

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  3. Hi Alyssa,

    I can relate to your situation very well.
    We live in the Rocky Mountain region and my family and in laws all live on the East Coast. I found that having an over abundance of pictures (on the walls, on the fridge, as a screensaver on my laptop) really helps my child recognize her far away relatives. We Skype as well. But this is what I found that really helps. We read to her alot. So after every visit with family, I make a photo book (e.g. Shutterfly makes them) of all of our photos and make a long story out of them. Then we read them to her. She remembers ALL of our vacations and visits this way. These photobooks are FANTASTIC! They also make great presents for the grandparents! Best!

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  4. I would never have moved unless skype existed.. 🙂 And the fact that every family member more or less lives in front of the computer… 😀 I think it's going to be easier with every year. I can't even imagine how it was like for the emigrants who left their homes in Europe, for the great unknown in north america, to hardly ever return, and just have occasional letters for communication.

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  5. Its hard but we also use video and web cams. I was initially skeptical that this would work but seriously, now that the baby is older he's starting to catch on that we are talking to someone. Every now and then he'll focus on the computer or look at me confused when I'm talking to it but in a few months he'll totally know its Grandma and Grandpa on the other end. Hugs! Its so hard to say goodbye for now.

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  6. Thanks everyone! We use iChat, and we'll probably start using it more. It's nice to hear that children “get it” at some point.

    Quyen, I *LOVE* that idea of doing photo books!

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  7. No real advice, but sympathy and empathy here. I moved away from my parents for college and grad school, and when my first daughter was born we were still several hours drive away. It wasn't until we moved even closer (2 hours drive away) that I started to realize how really great it was for the children to see my parents on a regular basis. We live far from my husband' family, and see them only about once a year. We went on a big vacation with them a year ago, and my kids (esp my oldest) became close to their cousins and still talk about them and that trip. We don't skype, but pictures and letters keep us connected. I think as long as you all get together at least once or so a year throughout the children's lives (and make sure it's real time together!) they will grow up keeping their family in their hearts. It's not the same thing as seeing them weekly or monthly, though, I know. I know it sucks. *Hug*.

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