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children who emigrate / how do you cope?

(188 Posts)
jordana Mon 31-Oct-16 18:23:50

My daughter emigrated to Canada 10 years ago with her husband and 3 children. The children were 2 girls aged 4 and 12, the boy was 14. They struggled a little at first,but now have a good lifestyle and the 2 oldest children have decent jobs. I am happy for them all, but I miss them dreadfully. I thought as time went on it would get easier, but in actual fact, it has got worse. She has been over a couple of times and myself once. We do have a daughter here who is divorced with 2 children aged 20 and 24 and a married son with no children. I just feel at this moment with christmas looming, so very sad. My hubby has heart probe and probably will never visit them in Canada. I just do not feel part of their lives anymore. Emails and fon calls are not very regular and the kids seldom email me. I know we only have our children for a short time before they leave us, and in theory that,s fine, but no one tells you how sad and miserable you feel. Is anyone else in the same boat? Am I really just a selfish mum?

hulahoop Mon 31-Oct-16 18:35:19

💐 Jordana

Luckygirl Mon 31-Oct-16 18:49:07

You are not selfish - you are human. I know that there are others on here who are in the same position and I hope they will be able to share their thoughts. flowers

Rinouchka Mon 31-Oct-16 19:01:14

Hello Jordana. No you are certainly not selfish. I fully understand your anguish over the distance between you and your beloved daughter and grandchildren. My husband and I are in a similar position. Our four children are now all married but D2 lives in New York City with her husband and two toddlers, DD3 lives in Milan and has a 6month old baby, DD1 lives at the other.end of the UK from us, whilst DS lives a 2-hour drive away from us( but in his wife's home village and very near her parents).

We do everything we can to be part of their lives, whether they are abroad or in the UK and rely heavily on SKYPE/ FACETIME and WhatsApp. We visit as often as we can, easier in the UK but still awkward for weekends, at times, and costly. We limit luxuries in order to pay for flights etc.
I have just spent three weeks in NYC helping with childcare during a particularly busy time in our daughter's work schedule, went to Milan to be with our youngest when her baby was born last April.

Our grandchildren are very young, so it is easier ro chat with them on Skype, for instance, than you might find with grandchildren who are young adults and lead very busy lives. However, could you not link up with them via Facebook or WhatsApp? The latter is great as they can send you photos and messages fairly frequentlya nd establish such a wonderful communication link.

This works very well even with our two older gc(10 &8). We send messages via WhatsApp, etc. My oldest grandchild(10) has just sent me a link to read her conteibution of a short story for her school magazine. It is not as good as living nearby and seeing her frequentl, but it is better than nothing.
I am sure many others on Gransnet are in a similar position as you. However, this is one instance when social media can provide enormous benefits .

You say you have only visited your family in Canada once. Could you not plan to go again very soon?
Do let your daughter and granchildren know that you want to be part of their lives.

Good Luck! I hope others here will have more advice and reassurance to offer you. You are not alone!

Rinouchka Mon 31-Oct-16 19:08:06

Forgive the typos. Please!
I just noticed that your husband is not able to go to Canada for health reasons. Would you be able to go on your own and leave him in the care of your children living in the UK? It would give you the possibility of reconnecting with your Canadian family. This would have an effect on them as, once they get ro know you in oerson again, they may feel more able to keep in closer touch.

How involved are you with your divroced daughtgr's children. Are they also distant and uncommunicative?

grannypiper Mon 31-Oct-16 20:13:14

jordana, life is a bug ger. It is really awful when half your family are missing, do you use skype ?

BlueBelle Mon 31-Oct-16 20:32:40

My son has been in NZ for 20 years now with wife two children who I love dearly but don't really know a daughter first in Belgium then Ireland for 15,years with 3 daughters I see them about twice a year, and then I have one daughter and two grandkids near by.

I do agree whatever you do you no longer feel part of their life, and we aren't any more in all honesty I talk to my son every weekend but sometimes we don't know what to talk about really as neither of us is involved in what the other is doing I know he loves me dearly and I him They have been back two or three times and I ve been there about five times but seeing them 8 times in 20 years is nothing is it? my daughter in Europe never comes home her husband doesn't like it here I don't think, I go there about twice a year and have the children every summer for a couple of weeks My daughter in UK is in constant touch and we do a lot for each other She said she may as well be an only child True I guess I was an only child and although I had a good caring childhood I was lonely and swore I d never have just one ah well that plan went wrong eh

It is was it is Jordana

Rinouchka it is very different when the grandkids are teens they are never there when you ring and probably wouldn't know what to say unless they are good conversationalists if they were, I think you just have to accept it and take great comfort in the fact they are happy and you ve done your job

hespian Mon 31-Oct-16 21:29:07

I totally understand where you are coming from Jordana. We have a son and a daughter who both live in Australia. Our son has been there six years, is married to an Australian and they now have three very young children. Our daughter has been there five years and now has an Australian partner. We try to accept that they will never come back to live in the UK. We have one son here who has left his wife and children. We see him very seldom although we still have a very close relationship with our daughter in law and grandchildren here. We have to accept that they have made their choices which don't really include us. It certainly doesn't get easier knowing that there are very few occasions in the future when we will share any real quality time with them. We just try to make the most of what we have left but it's not easy.

Rinouchka Mon 31-Oct-16 21:37:58

Yes, Bluebelle, it is true about teenage grandchildren. It is easier ro keep up contact with the very young through Skype. I also appreciate that distance and busy lives can make it awkward to have real dialogue and genuine connection with the absent offspring, even if there are regular phone calls, etc. Sadly, drifting apart, even though you love each other dearly, is a real possibility.

I would dearly love to see my little ones more often, to be able ro babysit without having to get on a train/plane to do so, to be able to just drop in for a coffee and then let them get on with their lives.

But it is not like that for many of us long distance grandparents. We do what we can, are pleased if our children and grandchildren are happy, healthy and make an effort to keep us in the loop. Some of us are lucky to be able to share holidays with our grandchildren and if we can afford it, to pay fares, etc. We still have Christmas together with most of our family, if not the whole original set. But this will change as the grandchildren get older and their lives develop beyond us.

I think it really hits us most as children and grandchildren get older, we ourselves get older, or we are left widowed. That is why it is so important to go beyond family and become part of other support communities, shed the occasional tear, and just get on with living our lives as fully and joyfully as we can.

A hug to all grandparents who are in this situation and many good wishes that they will finds ways of dealing with it positively, without despairing.

absent Mon 31-Oct-16 21:45:06

My daughter has lived in New Zealand for 17 years – exactly half her life. The years apart were hard for both of us although she was and is very happy in NZ. I paid for trips for her to visit me, see her grandmothers and father and, on a couple of occasions these trips included children. Mr absent and I also visited her and her growing family – three months being our longest stay. Parting at the end of a visit was always intensely painful for both of us but was the price we had to pay for the glorious times we spent together.

We never lost our closeness. We had only to say "Hello" on the phone to know if one or the other was happy or sad, enjoying life or having a bad time. We spoke often and e-mailed even more frequently.

Her father, Mr absent and I have now all emigrated to NZ and our homes are a 15-minute drive away. I see my grandchildren several times a week. Indeed, at this very moment, the youngest is snuggled in a cot in my bedroom having his morning nap, worn out by our visit to the nearby playground. The other five will be here after school for an hour or so until absentdaughter comes home from work and can collect them.

This was not how or where I envisaged the last years of my life and I do miss my friends and extended family in England. Nevertheless, I love living here and I love being with my immediate family almost all the time, however tiring granny duty sometimes is. Funny thing, life!

storynanny Mon 31-Oct-16 23:14:15

I am in the same boat. I am so very sad that I dont know my little grandchildren as I would like to. One son in usa one son in the far east. One in uk unmarried.
I find being parent to adults extremely difficult.
I agree with the poster who said have other interests in life.

storynanny Mon 31-Oct-16 23:15:20

So in answer to your question, I dont think I cope very well!

Mary59nana Mon 31-Oct-16 23:32:17

I'm also feel so sad my DS lives in Australia but we just have to make the best of it. So much easier now to keep in contact but it's knowing that they are just so far away for that motherly hug

SueDonim Tue 01-Nov-16 00:07:15

My eldest son has lived in America since 2002, with his American wife and now two youngsters. We see them most years, with us visiting them or them coming for Xmas here.

We ourselves have been living in the Far East & Africa during that time so we've been well scattered though we are now retired in Scotland. Skype and the like have made keeping in touch much easier. My ds seems to value us a lot and also his three siblings, we're really quite close, all things considered. He misses British things especially the sense of humour, and loves to be in touch.

My other son lives in London and we see him and his family several times a year. My oldest daughter lives a couple of hours drive away but no children yet, while our youngest is at university not too far away.

You just have to make what you can of it, really.

Synonymous Tue 01-Nov-16 01:34:38

Life can be so different for us all. I am now older than any of my parents and grandparents were when they died so it is difficult to know what to expect. I know that my own mother was very lonely and regret that I didn't make more of an effort to keep her in the loop but those were different days with expensive telephone communications and travel was not as easy as it is now. Of course when money is tight then nothing is easy whatever the date may be.
I feel pretty lonely myself on occasions so I do understand the difficulty in coping because whether family have actually emigrated or live at a difficult distance there is not a great deal of difference especially if you are not able to travel.
flowers and ((hugs)) to all those who need them! smile

BlueBelle Tue 01-Nov-16 06:51:41

Synonymous there is the added equation that some people have their children living near them but no relationship I d rather think my kids and grandkids were far away and happy than distant from my heart

At the end of the day we have no choice but to make of it what it is and remember our kids lives are not ours we have to have our own lives, not live off them it could be so much sadder

Anya Tue 01-Nov-16 07:49:35

No Jordana you are not a selfish mum at all. It's perfectly natural to feel like that especially as we get older and it doesn't help that your DH has a heart condition.

Try to concentrate on what a good life your daughter and family have, and feel proud you raised a child who could take on the challenge of living in another country and making such a good life for herself and her family.

Yes, there are times when it hits you (I know) especially as Christmas draws near and the nights draw in, but draw in the family you do have living close and make the most of them.

flowers (((hugs)))

Christinefrance Tue 01-Nov-16 08:18:27

It's so difficult jordana, we know we should be happy for our children moving on with their lives but we miss them so much.
There is no easy answer , try WhatsApp for teenagers that is an easy way for them to keep in touch. Try to engage with activities in your area and have other interests. You will always miss them but don't let it take over, get on with your life. Sometimes we have to be tough with ourselves.

Menopaws Tue 01-Nov-16 08:18:53

Yup me too, our daughter went backpacking ten years ago and didn't come back, getting married in march so no doubt I will have the grandchild issues too soon. She is so happy though I don't mind too much but I wish she nearer now my husband is ill

Menopaws Tue 01-Nov-16 08:19:36

Meant to say she's in oz

ffinnochio Tue 01-Nov-16 08:32:06

Having recently returned from visiting overseas family, I've been pondering on the fact that in leaving them, I haven't been overwhelmed with sadness.

I sometimes think that there is a kind of societal pressure that one can only have a meaningful, loving and happy relationship with one's children if they are close to home which is portrayed in aspects of the media (think Christmas adverts), and that if the children live 1000's of miles away, then one should feel heartbroken. Times are changing with ease of movement all across the world; what opportunities the youngsters have!

As BlueBelle mentioned, not all family relationships that are close to home are all wonderful.

I do miss my sons and their families, yet what I have gained in knowing they are all developing their lives in the way they want, and how it has improved our love and respect for each other is priceless. We also talk about missing each other, which gives that emotion daylight and allows it to breath, which is important, I find. It closes the hole of loss.

It's not always easy, but try to be at peace with the situation. It is as it is, and I find it better to take a thankful attitude. Communication is so much easier these days.

Menopaws Tue 01-Nov-16 08:42:55

Totally agree, you have to find the peace and the travellers have to see you happy otherwise you can ruin it for them. Our daughter opened up opportunities for us to travel and we will continue to do so for as long as possible, our son is moving to Canada next year so hey ho it's happening again! Beautiful world so let them go and grab it and as all have said, the ability to stay in touch is fantastic these days.

storynanny Tue 01-Nov-16 09:56:18

Someone recently told me to stop measuring my own worth by the happiness of my children
I sort of understand what they mean

JessM Tue 01-Nov-16 10:07:23

One son in NZ and one with kids in AUS. My second husband is very supportive and encouraged me to go to see them. But sometimes it is lonely if the sons have problems because he's not their dad and I don't communicate with their father.
Suggestion - maybe to find out what kind of social media the teenagers use e.g. viber, snapchat etc and see if they will exchange a few messages now and then.
Also - try to be busy and interested in other people if possible.

Elisabeth68 Tue 01-Nov-16 10:07:41

3 sons, 2 in the US married to lovely American women and now 5 grandchildren
3rd single (live in French partner) in Hong Kong
So hard with all away and special times like Christmas even harder. One has to make a life for oneself and be glad they are happy and successful. But not always easy to think like that when money constraints stop frequent visits.