Friday, October 21, 2011

The Hardest Thing

I'm currently in the middle of a week spent with my in-laws (mom, dad and sister).  I love them dearly and they are good people.  It's hard for me to be with them, though, without aching to live in a place where my own parents could be an influence on my children, at least a few times a year (or even once a year!).

My in-laws smother the kids with kisses and affectionate talk in altered tones.  They are always ready to help the older kids with homework and play the little "games" I don't have patience for over and over and over with the little ones that the kids giggle and giggle and giggle about ("Oh no!  Where did Aaron go!?!" x 500).  They take the kids for long, long walks and feed them lots and lots of food.  I'm so grateful for all of this (...almost always).

With my dad they would have a very different experience.  He would get down on the floor with them and play and wrestle.  He would show them things and... well, the fact of the matter is that I don't know exactly what he would do because it's been so many years that it makes me cry to think of it (almost 4) (excuse me while I wipe my eyes and blow my nose).  His wife would ask the kids questions and be infinitely interested and plan craft projects and make yummy food for and maybe with them.

 My mom would read them book after book after book.  She would point out interesting things and teach them words and concepts. She would teach and teach and the kids would feel her love for her God and His plan and her Savior and His sacrifice every single day.  She would always give them something interesting to do.  She would reprimand them when they needed it.  She would sit back and watch them interact with each other.  And she would laugh.

The things Greg's parents do, my parents would do very little of (or in more moderation).  The things my parents would do, Greg's parents do very little of..

I am so, so grateful my kids have loving grandparents living close enough that we see them many times a year.  But it's hard to express how difficult it is for me to have my kids growing up largely without their other grandparents.  It's probably the hardest thing about living here, not to mention what usually REALLY gets me: all the things my kids do and say and ARE that my parents can't experience.

And don't even get me started on aunts and uncles and cousins.  They see their Polish cousin (yes, without an "s" on the end) on Easter and Christmas.  He's 23.  They pretty much never get to see their (soon to be) sixteen other cousins, who are ages 13 and under and some of the cutest, smartest little people in the world.

I just had to unload.  I know it could be worse (My parents are still alive!  And I get along with all my siblings!  And many Americans don't get to see their family often, either! etc.) but sometimes one needs to throw oneself a pity party.  Sorry if I got confetti in your hair.



9 comments:

Erin said...

Actually, I think you expressed it quite well. I really felt how deeply hard this is (maybe because I can sympathize). No matter how fabulous one set of grandparents are, the other set is different and wonderful too. It is the bane of the modern world to be so far away from family. I just hate it.

Melanie Jacobson said...

I get it.

MelancholySmile said...

Oh, my heart aches for you. Sometimes, loving and getting along with extended family can be a blessing and a curse. ;)

I remember a day when J and I were in therapy {yes, we've been in therapy together. Years of it, actually.} and I realized that I'd always harbored the assumption that I would get married, have a year or two of adventures with my husband, then settle down in the same small town as my parents where I would spend holidays cooking with my mom and afternoons shopping with my sisters-in-law. But the reality was/is that my parents move every year or so. They don't ever settle down. And J earned a living in AZ and had no interest in becoming a nomad just to fulfill my fantasy. I said the words, "I think we're going to live in Arizona, around J's family for the rest of our lives" and then burst into tears.

I still kind of fantasize about living down the street from my parents. "In each other's pocket" is how my mom puts it. There's just nothing else like that. I know there are all kinds of other benefits to this lifestyle {stability! sunshine! predictability!} just like I'm sure your kids are getting the experience of a lifetime, growing up in Poland. But that doesn't mean we aren't allowed to mourn over the sacrifices that are made.

I think you need to talk your family into moving to Poland. :)

Susan said...

I'm too sad to comment right now...

Melissa said...

That kills me. I am so sorry. The first 5 years I lived in Texas I got to see my family at least once a year and it still killed me. Pity party away

Erin said...

We are contemplating moving halfway across the country, away from ANY family, and posts like these really make me wonder whether we need to reconsider. Sniff. Especially because I am currently sitting in my parents' basement, five hours away from my home.

Kazzy said...

I have lived 2000 miles away from my parents and siblings for 27 years now. Most of the time I am used to it, but after a long vacay back east, like I had this past summer, it has been very hard to be away. It can be heart-wrenching some days. I feel for ya.

Melissa Bastow said...

Pity parties are good. (especially ones with confetti.) My family drives me bonkers, but it would really bother me to have them miss my kids' childhood years too.

Sylwia said...

so i have a question and a comment. we live pretty far from our relatives too. not nearly as far as you but we are in upstate new york and they are in utah. so all year we save to fly 7 people and go and spend a summer there. last summer we spent 4 months in utah, we even skipped a whole month of school to do this. also just about every year we have grandparents visit us. for about two weeks each if possible.

is there any way they can come visit for one or two weeks every year. is there any way you can save for a year or two or three and go spend 3 months with cousins aunts and uncles and grandparents?