This is the big question for us. Family is what brought David and I to Clearwater years ago, which was a lucky thing because that’s where we met and fell in love. Family is what has kept us in Florida for seven or so years, even though neither of us actually want to live here. So don’t think we are giving up family lightly.
Both my parents and his live here, and we are very close to all four of them, as well as my sister who has been a most wonderful aunt and godmother.
Better yet, they are all friends with each other and our birthday and holiday celebrations tend to be combined, and lots of fun. Ada LOVES her grandparents. She loves overnights at Grandma’s house and the days she spends with Grammy, too.
She loves being teased by her grandfathers and sitting on their laps.
Annabelle has turned the corner too, from the clinging-to-mommy baby to a toddler who lights up when she sees her grandparents, coming forward with arms spread to be picked up. I really want my children to have this relationship with their grandparents. I feel impossibly lucky that my children have four grandparents who are so wonderful, who respect our wishes, and who were just the sort of parents to us that we want to be to our kids.
And then there’s the convenience. On the road, we will NEVER have a babysitter. Never an overnight at grandma’s house so David and I can go out alone. So we are aware that we will feel the sting of that slightly-more-selfish sacrifice as well.
The grandparents are not happy about our taking their kiddos away. And the last thing we want to do is seem uncaring (because we love you guys so much) or ungrateful for all they’ve done and for being there all the time. And yes, it gives me great pause to think that we will have a newborn that will not be growing up seeing these wonderful grandparents regularly.
BUT . . . we cannot go on living an unfulfilled daily grind for the once or twice a week that we have a fullfilling family day. We will not forgo the adventure of travel because our 9-5 lives have one highlight. We are not weighing the value of grandparent time against the thrill of the Grand Canyon or Old Faithful, because both are valuable and should be experienced. And that’s why . . .
We are seriously compromising our travel agenda with plans to get back to Clearwater Florida and it’s natural wonders (four amazing grandparents and one stellar aunt) every few months. I hope our families will see this for the genuine appreciation it is. Three months is hardly long enough to get halfway across the country the way we want to travel, but instead we’ll be planning to set out and get back in that span of time for Ada’s birthday celebration. Clearwater Florida is the opposite of centrally located. Getting anywhere and back is a waste of a lot of the nation, but worth it because we don’t intend to deprive our children from sleepovers and Grammy days, and we do want our new baby growing up knowing his or her grandparents. And because, as wonderful as they are, it’s the least we can do.
And we hope the grandparents will see fit to come have some adventures with us. Maybe my parents would take a vacation to Yellowstone with us and have an adventure with their grandchildren, one in which they spend every day together for a week, instead of one day out of the week. Surely that would help to make up for our absences. Maybe Grammy and Granddaddy’s business trip to Colorado could coincide with our travels, and we could even travel down to New Mexico together and they could be there when their grandchildren first discover desert.
Maybe such concentrated grandparent-grandchild time will be more rewarding than now when we try to fit each other into our work weeks. And maybe David and I can go out on a date, too 😉
The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to. ~Dodie Smith