20 answers

Grandparents Moving Out of State

So my parents just came back from a 2 week vacation to Texas, (where my sister and ALL of my dad's family live)on Saturday, and now have decided to move there. My dad was offered a job to make twice as much money in one month than what he makes now and the cost of living is almost less than half of what it is here. Also in moving they will be closer to my sister and her family, so it is hard because I want them to be here with my kids but it is not fair for my nephew to be so far for them. At the same time I feel like they are all leaving us and they are all going to be together like one big happy family(which is probably how my sister has felt). I took this news very hard for 2 reasons. #1: My 2 year old daughter LOVES her grandparents so much. She will ask at least 3 times a week to see them, when we drive by their house she wants to stop(even when they are not at home), and when we do see them she does not want to leave and cries for them like she will never see them again. #2 My husband does not talk to his dad at all (very long, complicated, and hurtful story) so when he needs advice or help with anything he turns to my dad. He was very upset about them leaving for this reason, and because he knows that I feel like we are "being left behind". My question is, How do I be supportive of my parents when my own family will be devastated from this? How do I explain this to my 2 year old? We have to tell here that Grandma and Papa are going to work when the go home after coming over for dinner, so how do we make her understand all of this? I just want to make it as easy as possible for her. My son is WAY to small to understand, which also hurts a little beacuse he won't know them the way his sister does. My heart is beaking for her and I just need a few answers, please help!!

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I just want to thank everyone who responded to this. It has been very difficult on my entire family. Just yesterday we watched my parents say goodbye to my Grandma and all of her siblings. There were a lot of tears to say the least. I think my daughter is begining to sense that something is going on but we just have not really talked to her about it yet, we want her to enjoy the time that she has with them while they are still here. The hardest part is it is not a lot of time, I forgot to state that from the time they came back to the time that they are leaving is exactly 2 weeks, so it is like every little minute counts for the months that will pass that she will not see them. I am hoping that the web cam will be something she will be interested in(sometimes she will not talk on the phone at all no matter who it is). Also we are hoping that they will be able to come for her birthday in November and then maybe we can go out there in May for my sons birthday. I appreciate all the advice I got for trying to stay connected with them and hope something will work for my daughter!

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Well, the truth works. Tell her they had to move closer to work and it is really far away. Part of growing up is to experience things that are not too pleasant. Set up web camera so she can talk and see them everyday via the internet. My son loved this. BTW my son is on his own now and this is how we keep in touch daily!

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First, let me say, I feel your pain! My heart breaks for you and I understand how devastating a change like this is. My husband is a Marine and I have experienced the pain of separation. We have mostly lived in the same town where all of my family is, but we have had two tours that took us about 400 miles from "home," and we will likely be moving across the country in a few years. Since the kids came along (they are now 3 and 2) the separation has been even harder. My boys are very close to my parents, as well as my brothers and sisters and all of their kids. If a move to Texas is not a possibility for you (I have spent a little bit of time in Texas, and I can tell you, as a California girl, I LOVE Texas. The people are great and it is a wonderful state. Texans are proud for good reason! The climate is different from California, but to be close to family, it would be worth it for me) - anyway, if moving there is not an option, these are some things that we have done to cope with separation from my family (and my husband's family, they are spread out all over the US so all we know is long distance contact with them).
We have cell phones with "free" long distance and unlimited nights/weekends, we also have the same carrier as many in my family so we can talk anytime to them for free. This might be a good way for your husband to stay close to your dad. We keep the family close by having pictures up, as well as little photo albums that my boys can look through whenever they like. My 3 year old is quite a talker now and loves to talk to his various grandparents on the phone, even the ones that live only 3 miles away currently. My 2 year old is just starting to show a little interest in the phone because he sees his big brother doing it. He is not as social and verbal as his big brother, but I don't think it will be too long before he can talk to the long distance family over the phone.
The grandparents who live far away try to visit once or twice a year. When we were living only 400 miles from my family, my parents would come visit every couple of months, or we would go visit them. Texas is a little far for a road trip, but if your parents are able to come out to visit you as often as they can, even if just for a weekend, and if you can handle the travel with two little ones, you could try to visit them once a year, or whatever you are able to manage. The time does go by fast, and even with such limited contact, my boys know all of their grandparents very well. They are closest to my parents, of course, because we have lived close to them, but even the other grandparents that they only see once or twice a year, they are close to them also. We look at pictures and talk about them, talk to them on the phone, so they are a part of our boys' lives that way.
My 2 year old was born while we were not living close to any family, so all he ever knew for the first 15 months of his life, was short visits to and from grandparents, looking at pictures and talking on the phone (which he didn't do much of then). Still, he recognizes all of his grandparents when he sees them, both in person and in pictures, and he gets excited. And since we have lived close to my parents for the last several months, he seems to have formed a very close, special bond with my mom.
This sort of separation is something my kids are used to, I suppose. Since your daughter is not used to this, I imagine it will be a tough adjustment for her. But kids are really resilient. If you can be calm and confident when you explain the circumstances to her, that may help a little. Distraction is also a great tool to use at this age, so if you can give her something to look forward to or be excited about, that can help. For now, if you don't know about any visiting plans, you can tell her that Grandma and Papa are moving far away, but we still get to talk to them on the phone. (I always say things like that as if it is really exciting, and my boys seem to catch my "mood").
I really don't think there are any easy answers for this, but if you are determined to make the best out of it, I think everything will work out fine. It will be a difficult adjustment, and it may not be life as you dreamed it, but you will adjust and it will become "life - as you know it." And hopefully you will have many visits to look forward to!

2 moms found this helpful

Well its a sad situation but really would your parents denie you pleasure, hope and excitment if it was you moving away? Would they denie you he joy of doing something better for yourself financially and doing what is hard these days but get ahead a bit? They aren't leaving you behind and being a happy family without you. We live in a day and age where staying connected is easier than it ever was me and my husband live in the middel of nowhere nevada and are able to connect with both our families easily and almost daily. Skype, phone, e-mail, snail mail and we are as close today as ever before. Be honestly glad for a change in their life and grateful that they are doing something good for themselves instead of dwelling on what isn't going to be best for yourself and teach your daughter that value and it makes the transition better and ten times easier. Lets face it our parents spend most of their lives doing whats best for us, as we will do for own children. Moving away will be hard enough for them too. Let them get established and go visit as I'm sure they will visit you every chance they have. Who knows mabey later on your family will be able to move also if it is whats best for you.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

While I don't have any good advice on what to say to your two year old (the truth works), I can tell you what not to do. Whatever your personal feelings are, try your best not to guilt trip your parents about leaving. It's their life and they need to do what's best for them, period.

My mom has spent the last 22 years whining about how my husband and I "moved" away from her. First, it was me going away to college. Then, it wasn't moving home when I was done with college. Then, it wasn't moving home after our first son was born. When we announced we were moving to another state, she flipped. Then, we moved even further away. Visiting her or having her visit is just one big weekend of toxicity because of her attitude.

Gentle reminders, or even all-out arguments, about the choices we've made usually fall on deaf ears. Reminding her that planes, trains and automobiles go both directions (not just our place to hers) didn't help. She's calmed down a bit over the last few years, but the bitterness still leaks through. For example, when we threw a big birthday party when my eldest turned 13, she told EVERYONE how sad she was that I denied her the chance to REALLY know her grandsons by moving so far away. She tells all her clients to be nice to their children or they'll move far away to some hick town with nothing to do (we live in a small, one-stop-light town in northern Nevada).

No one needs that in their life. Be happy for your family; do what you can to visit them, have them visit you, and learn to connect in other ways. Don't be the one that everyone resents because of a bad attitude.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I totally understand how you feel, but for opposite reasons...we were the ones who moved...not my parents. We were originally supposed to move to Austin...bought a house and all. Then DH got a job offer in San Diego that we couldn't refuse. So even though we are only 1.5 hours south of my parents, the first few months were really hard on us, especially our son who was then 13 months. He is VERY close to my parents. They would stop in to see him at least every other day or we would stop by to see them. He is Grampa's Buddy. Poor kid cried every night for hours at a time for about 3 weeks just screaming for Grampa and Gramma. So heartbreaking. But after 3 weeks he was fine. So I am sure after a few weeks your daughter will be fine too.

Any chance that you guys could move to Texas soon? Most of the school districts there are better than anything here in CA, housing prices are MUCH lower (by almost 50%), and cost of living is lower. The only thing that is higher (much higher) is property taxes. I think we only pay like 1.5% here in CA but it's like 3% in TX. But they also have no state tax.

Honestly if it weren't for the awesome job opportunity here in San Diego, we would have moved to Austin in 2006. We still have our home there and have been renting it out since then. It's a beautiful one story, 2650 sq ft home, all custom to my likes with a gourmet kitchen, huge walk in panty, huge laundry room, 5 bedrooms plus a study, in a top rated golf course community. We paid $285K for it! You can't even buy a nice sized condo down here for that price!

Another thing you could do to help ease the pain of not seeing your parents is to get a web cam and Skype your parents. There is no fee for Skype. And all you have to do is make sure that your parents have a webcam and are signed up for Skype and are logged on, and then away you go. We Skype my sister who is in Korea for a year about twice a week so my kids can talk to her (both my kids are very close to her as well). I think we got two web cams (one for us and one for my parents) for about $70 at Target. Now we can all Skype each other.

1 mom found this helpful

We were on the opposite end of this issue -- we had to move out of state away from the Grandparents and neices. It isn't easy to move from family, but today's technology makes it a little easier -- telephone, email, instant messaging,My Space, lots of pictures!!!! And keep explanations to your little girl honest and simple -- Grandpa got a new job and they have to move so we won't see them as often, but we will talk on the phone, etc. Kids are very resilient and after a few weeks, not seeing grandma & grandpa often won't seem so strange anymore. And if she cries at first, let her cry; cry together, comfort each other, talk about them, and then go on with life! Finally -- explore moving too?

1 mom found this helpful

Well, the truth works. Tell her they had to move closer to work and it is really far away. Part of growing up is to experience things that are not too pleasant. Set up web camera so she can talk and see them everyday via the internet. My son loved this. BTW my son is on his own now and this is how we keep in touch daily!

Is moving to Texas an option for you?

This is a tough one, J., it's hard to explain things to a two year old, and it is sad, but dissapointments are apart of life, she's at the age where she will probably get over it fairly quickly, I'm more concerned about you, this is how my family felt when we moved to Japan, it almost broke my moms heart, but it was a military move, and I and the kids had to be with my husband, the rest of th family quit getting together for Holidays, birthdays, everything once we left. The best think you can do for your little girl, is keep things as normal as possible, and trust me if you are OK she will be OK. J.

Wow! That is tough. I suggest you tell your daughter ASAP about the move. Encourage her to "write" letters and draw pictures to send to your parents. When she gets sad have her draw a picture for them, put it in the envelope, take it to the post office. When they get it, I am sure they will call... she'll love it!
My parents live out of state and we only see them twice a year, but I make sure my daughter knows who they are (pictures and phone calls) and we mail them crafts and stuff once a month. I let her decorate the envelope, pick out what to send- just keep her involved.
It's ok to be sad!!

I am a grandparent of 8 and am in the process of moving out of state. I am devastated myself, but we bought our retirement property almost 20 years ago. What we have done is make arrangements to have places to stay for all my kids and grandkids at our place. That way when they visit us they won't have the expense of a hotel, just the cost of the travel. We have a lot of land so that works for us and we are keeping our place in CA so we have a place when we come to visit them. I am sure that is not possible for you but the idea is the same. Make sure your parents know that you have arrangements already in the works to have room for them any time they want to come and visit! Let them know that you want to visit as often as possible with them also, so they can plan for that with the home they select. If it is possible and you want to, start looking into following them there. Then you will all be one big happy family. When my grandparents moved here to CA from Ohio when I was a kid, my parents and most of my aunt's and uncles followed my grandparents. The ones who stayed back there still do biannual visits with family even though my grandparents are gone. The ones here do the traveling one year and the the ones there the next year. We were just back there this year and had a wonderful visit.
The others were right as long as you don't get real upset your daughter will be fine. Keep things positive, like this is a new adventure. Some new place for her to go visit too. Make sure you all keep in touch regularly. One of you or both can get unlimited long distance and talk regularly also. There shouldn't be any more crying than usual from her, since she doesn't live with them now.

Hi J., I understand how you feel, I have family out here in California but my mom and my husbands family live in Kansas. We only see them once a year but my son ( who is 2) loves them very much and it is so sad for us when we have to say good bye to come back home. My mom always thinks that my son is going to forget who she is because he is so young but my son doesn't. He talks to her on the phone and I always show him her picture and I say who is that and he says Grandma. I think that if you explain it to your daughter she will understand. I know it's going to be hard for all of you but she will adjust. Just make sure that she gets to talk to them on the phone and I'm sure she will be ok. As for your youngest one, I would just show him their pictures and talk to him. My son didn't get to meet my mom and my husbands family until he was 9 months old and then he saw them again when he was 1, and again just this past May. It's amazing to me how much they understand cause he knows who everyone is and when I ask him about his grandma he tells me airplane, cause he knows that is how we get to grandma's house. I hope this helps. I know how hard it can be to be away from family cause my husband is in the Air Force. Good luck and God Bless!

We are contemplating a move to Texas too, probably in a couple of years. My husband's company has a location there, and it would be better for our little family. Here we don't seem to be able to afford anything. There you can get a huge beautiful house for what a run down broken one costs here. There is no question we will go when the timing is right.

We however, will be like your parents ... leaving family behind, including my grandmother who is in her eighties. We would take her with us but I don't see her agreeing to that. My sister also has a baby and I can't stand the thought of not watching him grow.

Atleast though, with technology the way it is today it is so much easier to stay in touch.

Wish your parents well. Realize how tough this must be for them, and send them on their way with your sad blessings. Plan a long visit, and who knows maybe you will be able to relocate also.

Good luck.

As stated before by another; could it be a possibility for your family to move? I have heard alot about Texas being a great place to purchase a home and the economy is booming due partly to the oil. I don't know what your husband does but it sounds like it would be a great time to try Texas.


I would recommend both you and your parents getting a web cam for your computer and talking on Skype. I get on Skype at least once a week with my parents who live in Oklahoma. My son gets to see them and they enjoy seeing him. We've done this since my son was 2 months old and when we went to visit my paretns in Oklahoma when my son was 9 months old, he recognized them right away! It was a great feeling for my parents. It would be a good way for your daughter to talk to your parents and see them too. Plus, it's free!

Oh no! I definitely feel for you and I can also somewhat relate. I think the hardest part about all of this is that we do not know what to expect. In my case, I am the one who will be moving- (I posted my question regarding my move too!) My whole family lives here in LA and they are very disappointed that I am "taking" my son away from them- especially Grandma and aunts. I don't really have an answer for you, because I haven't gone through it yet, but I wanted to let you know that I was also going through something similar. What I do suggest is getting a web cam, I think this will be a huge help. I'm planning on getting one, this way they can actually see my son when they talk to him. My sisters use this to talk to each other sometimes and they only live 20 minutes from each other-but this is how they remain so close.
As far as being supportive of your parents, you just have to be, they shouldn't be made to feel guilty for the decision they made.(I'm sure your not, by the way) It's unfair that they will be moving to Texas and be a "big happy family" with your sister- but what can we do? I feel like my family here in LA will be a big happy family without me too. We just have to make the effort to visit each other as often as possible. You go to Texas in the winter and they come visit you in the summer- or something like that. I think your parents definitely need your support because I am sure it is hard for them to leave you guys too.
I wish you the best and this will be one of our kids' many life lessons that we will be guiding them through. It's a great learning experience for us. Blessings to you and your family!

I don't think it will be quite as devastating as you imagine. Be Happy for your parents. It is very exciting for them to have such a great opportunity close to their retirement years. This is also a great time for you and your husband to grow closer as a couple. Just because your parents are moving closer to your sister does not mean they will see each other often. Your sister and her family already have an established routine and it is hard to include grandparents into that. Just because your parents move away does not mean that they love you any less. They will still be available by phone to give advice to you and your husband when needed. Be supportive of them. How many times in our lives do we truly have a chance to do that for our parents? they raise us and take care of us emotionally, but we seldom have a chance to repay that. With your parents moving, be happy for them. Find an elderly person/couple through your church who is lonely and needs company and do that for them. Teach your family about service to others and do things to keep your mind off of losing your parents through their move. This is NOT about you and your family, it is about a wonderful opportunity for your parents and you if you let it be that. It can be a chance for you and your husband to learn to live without family support close by. (Trust me, you won't regret learning how to do that. It makes you a stronger person.)Follow the advice of the others about communication with your family. I send my son's drawings to my family often and write letters to the grandparents. They have let me know that they appreciate it. My family is all on the other side of the country and we are the only ones here in CA, but this has given my immediate family a chance to be closer and learn not to depend so much on family members for company or advice. It has been a wonderful chance to do that. Let them get settled in Texas for about six months or so before you think of going to visit them. Don't try to guilt them into not leaving. Even now, some of my family will throw into conversations that we should not have moved away. It can be very hurtful. Don't do that to your parents and don't follow them to Texas. Don't move to Texas to be with them. Use this as a learning experience to grow stronger as a family unit with your own husband and children. You won't regret it. Just be glad that you had the chance to spend time with your parents while you could. Help them in whatever way you can to have an easier transition. Remember, it is about a wonderful opportunity for both of you. Be strong and pray about the whole thing and good luck in your situation.

I am a grandparent and I fully understand both sides. You are not alone as this sort of scenario is happening everywhere. I absolutely believe that grandparents are extremely important, as do you.
The only remedy I see is for you and your husband to move to Texas. You will see the same advantages as your parents in moving there.

Always tell your daughter the truth. Get a web cam for your computer so she can see Grandma and Grandpa every day. Make plans now to go for Christmas. Ask that Grandparents come to CA for kids birthdays. That way you see them at least 3 times a year.

Best of luck to you...

I admire the relationship that you have with your family. My husband is in the military. I imagine some of the coping skills we use would work for your situation as well. CD's or DVD's with pictures and movies, email and letters are great. SKYPE (Free downloadable program that allows free computer to computer texting, "phone" and video calls) is a wonderful option. There isn't anything that can overcome the loss of having your family close. I show my 3 year old daughter where Daddy is on a map. I talk about him daily. We recorded him reading some bed time books before he left. My daughter "writes letters", sends emails, and talks to him on the phone as often as possible. She talks to his image in movies as if he was really there. She responds to me reading his email as if he could hear. She talks out loud to him in the middle of the day like some talk to God. It is very easy to stay connected with a little effort. I hope some of these ideas will work for you.

This is obviously really hard for you. Growing up, my dad was in the military. I moved all over the US as well as Japan. At that time there was just snail mail, but now, there are so many other things that are used for communication. SKYPE is great! My FIL has been in China this whole year and that's how we stay in touch with him. Also email is so convenient.

As adults we worry about how EVERYTHING will affect our kids. Your daughter may be sad but this really isn't going to do damage to her in the long run. Tell her the truth. Show her a map, get SKYPE, and have her write letters. If it's possible, take trips to see your parents often. It's possible. My best friend is one of my cousins and we've never lived in the same city. Good luck.

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