The Worst Thing

I debated on writing about this because it feels too personal. I carefully walk the line between light-hearted and completely open book blogdom because I think there are some things I’d just like to stay ‘in house’. But as it is incontestably the most difficult thing about being an expat, and the complexities of it increase when you’re an expat parent, I know I can’t avoid the  topic. Family. At some point either me or the Husband (or both) will have to be away from one of (ooor both of) our families. Happiness, concerns, milestones, joys, emergencies, the everyday will have to be shared over the phone, text or via webcam. It does make me appreciate technology because I know that not that long ago we would have been limited to a dodgy phone line and a paper and a pen, but it still doesn’t replace a face-to-face talk, the real life tightness of a hug, or being in the room when something incredible happens (even if it is The Duchess’ 50,000th smile).

Last weekend we were faced with a medical emergency with one of my family members back in The States. Different family members sent texts to keep me in the loop, but that night I struggled to sleep as I not only worried about the person involved, I was also considering what I would need to do if I had to fly back at a moment’s notice. I would have to bring The Duchess with me because she is breastfeeding and I don’t have any frozen milk at the moment. The Duchess doesn’t yet have her passport. But the worst thing was the worry about if the worst should happen. I was stuck in England while all of my other family members were there at the hospital supporting the person involved. The difficulty of that is inexpressible.

I’ve already thought about things I’d do differently in retrospect. A) Have an emergency stash of frozen milk if the baby wasn’t coming B) Get a passport for the baby as soon as I can after birth C) Maybe even have a prepared packing list for the baby so I can do it quickly, but even with finely executed preparation I can’t change the crux of the problem. I live far away.

Emergencies remind me of this, but in everyday, non-emergency life I know we are making the best of it.  We send weekly picture texts and try to Skype every week, but there will always be a bit of sadness wherever we live because whether in joys or concerns, the remarkable or the mundane, any way we slice it someone is always missing out.

If you live far away from your parents or in-laws, are there any things you do to support or to help include the ‘missing’ party?

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4 thoughts on “The Worst Thing

  1. Lindsay Borland

    oh B i can totally relate, although no little Borland yet, it can be quite hard to be away from family & friends when tough things are going on in their lives! i can only assume this becomes even harder when you have a little one who your family does not get to see often enough! when the time comes for us i will be calling/skyping you for advice!!! love you, linds

    Reply
  2. Deborah

    We live 12-13 hours from both of our parents (they live 5-6 away from each other). While we miss them and it can be sad at times, we do pretty well with it. (The grandparents have a much harder time than we do, though). We skype, post pictures on facebook, text them occasionally, and they get to see them probably about 4 times a year (in a good year 5 or 6). I think the nice thing though is that when they do get to see them, they get usually get to spend a good chunk of quality time with our kids. Its several days, sometimes a week of quality grandparent time. Also I think it has really helped D and I in our marriage and parenting to rely on each other. Plus we have a great church family that helps us out when needed. I never have known anything different, we grew up12-14 hours away from both sets of our grandparents, so this is normal for me and my family. I will say that my son has a great relationship with both of his grandparents. He has always been really excited to see them (even when he was baby), He would warm up to them right away and he talks about them now and loves it when he gets to see them. It is sad when we or they leave though, because he will ask about them for days.
    When I was reading this I was thinking that I feel like it would almost be harder being close to one set while the other is far away rather than being far away from both of them. (I know it definitely would be with our families.) Now everything is pretty even and pretty much “fair” in the amount of time each gets to spend with their grandchildren. I know I would feel really bad for the left out party if we lived close to just one.
    Sorry this was so long, just could relate to what you’re saying on some levels…. I love your blog, hope you can keep it up!

    Reply
  3. Pingback: The Travelling Homebody « Living Life as an Expat Parent

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