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!!

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

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!

Featured Answers

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.

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