Long-Distance Family

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing

Today is 24 days of posts in November. I’m amazed I’ve made it this far!

Nikki asked a really good question about celebrating the holidays.

“I have been thinking about the differences in holiday celebrations now compared to when I was a kid. Our family isn’t quite as close-knit — everyone in my generation has moved away whereas my parents lived near their parents so we could all gather for the holidays. Have you noticed the same in your family?”

In my generation most of us stayed close to our parents, so holidays were always a big event.

Our children all moved away after they were married. Some it took years and our last one moved when she got married. All three living in different states from us.

I never considered this would happen.

When our daughter moved to GA with two of our grandchildren ages almost 4 and almost 2 in nearly killed me. I didn’t see this coming and my heart was broken.

I had well-meaning friends who said things like, “At least you are close enough to drive there and see them.” This was like pouring salt in my wounded heart.

But God! He had other plans.

My hope was that our family would share life together. We would be available to babysit so our kids could cultivate their relationship in the throes of raising a family. Holidays would be challenging in how we would seat everyone around the same table.

First our daughter, son-in-love and two grandchildren moved to GA. in 2011.

A year later my Mom died in 2012, leaving me feeling orphaned since my Dad died 9 years earlier.

Second, our son moved to Tennessee for his dream job in 2014. He took his sweet wife and three more of my precious grandchildren with him. While I was happy for the dreams they were pursuing, my heart was broken for what could have been. It haunted me daily.

Then Disney came out with a new movie and a hit song that was played everywhere. It had the three words I kept hearing God say to me. “Let it go!” I was afraid to let go of my desire for fear that my kids would never move back.

Finally, when our youngest daughter got married and moved to yet another state in 2018, I was undone. Finally I knew I had to let go of what I had imagined life would be to let my kids have the freedom to follow their dreams. I needed to be their biggest fan, not their strongest antagonist!

This made all the difference.

I was able to let go and trust that God was leading our kids exactly where he wanted them to be.

Our holidays change from year to year. We have enjoyed times where we are all together, but more times than not, we’ve had to adjust our expectations and enjoy the ones who were able to be with us.

Most times we are the ones who travel to see them because our kids and grandkids are a priority to us, even if it’s not convenient. I love them and anytime we are able to spend together.

FaceTime is an almost daily occurrence, and for this I am so very thankful. I think often of my grandmother, Grace, who moved away from her family at 16 years of age. There was no telephone, no internet, no cars even. Miles separated them and the only communication took weeks to receive.

As I write this we are with one third of our family for Thanksgiving. The other two-thirds are spending Thanksgiving with their in-laws. We are choosing to focus on being present and enjoying what is, rather than being sad over what could have been.

But God! He is the only reason I’m able to say this.

We almost lost two grandchildren in the last two years, and I lost my brother this year. The distance that separates us doesn’t seem as significant now.

As my youngest daughter recently wrote about raising an infant with special needs, “Every day is thanksgiving, and even though I can still struggle with a heart of complaint. I pray my perspective is always pointed to what God has blessed me with rather than what I think He has taken away.”

Yes, Perspective. it makes all the difference in how we move forward from grieving what could have been to what we’ve been given.

This is my 24th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.


10 thoughts on “Long-Distance Family

  1. Perspective is important.
    Switzerland is a small country, so even if you “move away”, you won’t be further away than let’s say a 4 hours’ drive, maybe 5.
    What my brother and I did to our parents though… he left permanently to live in Israel in the mid-1990s. I moved to California indefinitely, however 9/11 cut my plans short and I returned not only to Switzerland but the exact town my parents live. So they are getting the full program of babysitting my son and being part of his development. I love it. He’s old enough to go and see them independently now.
    Happy Thanksgiving! (A special thanks to technology that allows you to keep in touch with the ones who can’t be there in person.)

  2. Reading this had me relive those years with you. It was hard. Period. But God’s plan won’t be thwarted and eventually in him we are thankful yet it is still hard. Not as hard, but hard. We love. We miss our people. You know my circumstances. I don’t think we have had a Thanksgiving all together in seven years. We are thankful for our smaller Thanksgivings with our son and family and with my mom, but it is not what I had pictured lo those many years ago. It is good though. Very good. I’m thankful for how God has lead you through this.

    • I wish it was as easy to do as it is to say. I am grateful to be on this side of the grieving process.
      I’m glad your comment came through too, Jeanine. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  3. Our family is scattered also but I’m thankful that they are all doing well. We have Lia and her mom with us and we are very thankful they are a big part of us.I know one day they will move and we will be devasted but like you said, God has a plan and I’m sure he will keep them safe. Happy Thanksgiving!

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