Gransnet forums


Happy for them, sad for me

(89 Posts)
Philippa60 Wed 08-Feb-23 14:08:46

Well that's it, after 7 months of planning, our DS, DiL and baby GD have moved to Australia. It's only been a day or two but they already seem so happy to be there. Our DiL is from there and she had been away for 9 years and was just longing to get back home. She had found having a baby and being a Mum in London so hard, with no family or friends around (we don't live there).
So what's the problem?
Well I just feel so sad for me, it's knowing that they are now SO far away from us and close to all of her family... maybe if I am honest I am just a little jealous....
Getting together is going to be so much more difficult, especially together with our DD and her family... who luckily do live close to us.
We are a close family and will for sure keep in touch on wattsapps and video calls of course, but it's not the same, is it?
I am working hard on myself to focus on their happiness only: I truly think they will have a better life there. I keep telling myself that the cup really is half full, not half empty.

Yet I just can't help the tears and sadness today. I thought there would be people here who could encourage me through these rather tough first days...
Thank you all in advance

silverlining48 Wed 08-Feb-23 14:21:38

What a kind and caring gran you are Philippa. Of course you are sad, we all would be, but already you are seeing the positives for them even though it’s so hard for you.
It’s early days and you will get used to it. My dd left 16 years ago, just to Europe, but it still needs flights and so on, it all has to be planned well beforehand. No spontaneity and I took a while to accept it, and missed her, especially at the start.
Give yourself time and don’t be hard on yourself. You will be ok. flowers

Philippa60 Wed 08-Feb-23 14:25:29

Thank you, silverlining.
I am not the crying type but at the moment the tears are never far away....
I really appreciate the encouragement, thanks smile

maddyone Wed 08-Feb-23 14:26:48

Oh Philippa I feel for you. It’s truly hard, I know because my daughter and three grandchildren went to New Zealand some eighteen months ago. They have no family there. They went because they are doctors and doctors work fewer hours there for the same pay. We’ve just returned from a two months visit. Now every day our five year old grandson cries and asks for his grandad. His older brother asks when we’re going back.
Having lived there for two months I’m unconvinced of the ‘better life’ argument. Parents say that because it justifies the reason for going. My daughter works fewer hours for the same pay. That’s the one and only ‘better’ about it. Food and all goods and services are about twice the price of the UK. There is far less choice available in the supermarkets. Education is not particularly good so the grandchildren are in an independent school. There are only nine universities for the whole country and they are not world renowned as far as I understand. The country is very isolated and insular. I don’t know about Australia but most Kiwis are not able to afford to go abroad or drive newish cars. I was shocked by the age of the age of the cars on the road. So overall, I don’t think it is a better life, but it is a novelty and your son will have family there, so that makes a big difference.

Philippa60 Wed 08-Feb-23 14:39:33

Thanks maddyone, it helps hearing from people who have the same experience as me.
Where I live nearly all my friends have all of the children and grandchildren close by....
Every time I read that my son's MiL says she's so happy they are "home" it makes me cry because I want to say "that's not my son's home!" but I guess it is now shock

Luckygirl3 Wed 08-Feb-23 14:42:03

I would be the same Philippa60 - logical brain saying you know they have done the right thing for them, and as you love them you want that - but heart saying how sad it is. And eyes having a weep!

I hope so much that you will gradually adapt to this new situation and that you will find ways of communicating - it will be different, but I am sure you can make it good. Sometimes we take more trouble with making contact when we are far apart. How about: keeping a diary of what you are doing/sending pics of your outings/making little things to send out/making little videos/playing an online game with them/whatsapping age appropriate word or picture games - there will be lots.

Lots of good luck!

maddyone Wed 08-Feb-23 14:51:02

Philippa you do get used to it, but it’s very hard. It’s even more hard because as a parent you see the downside as well as the upside. Anyway, the best way to deal with it is to plan a weekly WhatsApp video call. Buy a portal for your television and then you can see them on the tv screen which is much better than the little screen on a phone. At the moment my daughter calls us daily when she’s taking the children to school because the youngest keeps crying for his grandad, so it helps if he can speak to us every day. Send parcels as well as money for gifts because the children love getting a parcel and it’s a tangible link to you. Plan a visit, that’s important. We’ve just returned but are already planning our next visit. We’re also planning to give our daughter tickets to come home to see us, later this year. When you visit, make sure you see your grandchildren every day if possible, in order to build the links with them that are more easily built when they live in the same country. Good luck. PM me if you ever need support.

Beautful Wed 08-Feb-23 15:07:25

Just a plane ride away ! My mom used to say I have my life ... yes will seem so sad , but now a days so many forms of communication where you can see them ... have to see what is best for their family ... no doubt they will have their sad days aswell ... now decide when you are going to visit & start saving ... yes sad for you but try to be happy for them

BlueBelle Wed 08-Feb-23 15:10:26

It will get much better my son went to NZ 25 years ago I ve seen them maybe 6/8 times in that period it’s too expensive for me to go often and now I don’t want that long long journey
Their Nan and grandad live round the corner from them so obviously they are priority.
It’s hard but all I think is they’re happy, the kids have grown both have good jobs, they have a great lifestyle

What more can I wish for

Philippa60 Wed 08-Feb-23 15:37:23

Yes, all makes sense. I haven't really bonded with their daughter yet (my baby GD who is 10 months old... also they are VERY anxious parents so don't give me too much access!) and I do have my 4 wonderful GCs close by me here - it's really my son I am weeping about. I adore him and somehow feel that I am losing him, and that he will be so close to his wife's family and we will fade into the far away background.
Maybe not rational, but that's how I am feeling today.
We have booked our first trip to visit them already, for this September
Thanks everyone for the empathy and support, it's very much appreciated

Calendargirl Wed 08-Feb-23 15:58:26

My DD married an Australian 21 years ago. Her 3 children are now 20, 19 and 16. Cannot pretend I know them half as well as the 2 GC who live in the same town as us.

Is it a better life? No, not really. Boiling hot summers, cold winters, (they live in Canberra), high taxes, cost of living still expensive. Housework, cooking, jobs, you still have them to do if the other side of the world.

It’s not all barbecues and Bondi beach.

But it’s where her DH is from, and where they choose to live.

I just wish it were somewhere in Europe, so much more accessible.

VioletSky Wed 08-Feb-23 16:04:39

It's OK to be sad!

You have completely the right attitude.
You aren't making your son responsible for your feelings.
You aren't guilt tripping.

Don't feel bad for being sad, it's like to be sad for you and happy for them.

It will get easier in time, be gentle with yourself, make use of video calls and social media to follow theor lives and keep in close contact

Hithere Wed 08-Feb-23 16:08:39

Give yourself time to adjust, it is a big change

sodapop Wed 08-Feb-23 16:25:06

Of course you feel sad Philippa60 it would be strange if you didn't. I know how you feel as my daughter went to live in America with her American husband many years ago now. Once the initial sadness has eased you will be able to see how it's good for your daughter in law to be with her family. It may not be forever and your relationship with your son will change anyway now he has his own family. So many ways to keep in touch now which were not available to me 25 years ago. You will look forward to video calls etc, it's not the same but our adult children need to do what is best for them. Enjoy your holiday in September.

BridgetPark Wed 08-Feb-23 16:26:09

Hi Philippa, how i feel your son and wife and 3 grandchildren have just been here for xmas. First time i have met the younger 2 children, and saw the older girl when she was a new born, and we visited them in Australia.
They stayed for 3 weeks, and it was very bitter-sweet. I adore my son, but i am lucky because I also have another son and daughter who live locally. But it has been over a month now since they went back, and I am in the deepest depression now, as it churned up everything I experienced the first time he left here for Australia. The three children are extremely hard work, I could see stress in all their relationships, and what makes it doubly hard is that they are not particularly close the her mom or sister. But when they were here, all the cousins bonded so firmly and happily.
So i don't feel they have an idyllic life at all, and if they were here, we could support them so much.
But i respect their wishes, and have accepted that their life is so very different to anything they would have here, be it a good thing or a bad thing.
Sorry to be negative Philippa, and I am sure, for you, it will be very different. Just concentrate on saving to go and see them, but be prepared for heartache and sorrow along with the joy. Good luck to you and your family

Fleurpepper Wed 08-Feb-23 16:29:11

Good on you for not making them feel guilty. And thank goodness we now have the internet, FaceTime, WhatsUp, etc.

I have a book of letters written by my great-grand mother's cousins- who moved to the Melbourne area in the 1830s, to plant vineyards. In those days, it was as far as the moon is now, and letters would take weeks to arrive- and it was a once in a lifetime move, no trips backs or visits. By the time they got the letter saying all was well, anything could have happened.

Hope you are ablet to visit them soon to see them settled and happy.

Yammy Wed 08-Feb-23 16:32:37

My daughter had to come home from the far east to get married and continued there for a long while. Babies were born and I felt awful, then we started to facetime a lot.
It does get better and you will get used to it.
Good Luck.

rockgran Wed 08-Feb-23 16:51:54

You bring them up to fly the nest and be independent. You did a good job! You are allowed to have a good cry but stay positive. They will love you all the more for not making them feel guilty. I keep a note of things we have been doing so that I have plenty to chat about and they don't feel our lives are empty without them. It will get better.

BlueBelle Wed 08-Feb-23 17:06:41

When I was 20 I moved out to the Far East and I will admit I never really thought about the effect it might have on my parents, they didn’t try to stop me and I remember it was two weeks before they got the first ‘bluey’ telling them I had arrived safely.
For the next 3years all they got was airmails or surface mail
letters with photos in, there were no phones we didn’t own one When I had my first baby I had to ring the grocers opposite our house to ask if someone would pop over and let them know I was ok
There are phones, video calls, and so much easy contact now, of course it s not the same but it’s a very good alternative for happy confident children who fly the nest
You will cry for a bit and then you ll brush yourself down and feel happy that you have a son in a happy marriage and let him get on with his life, his priority now is his wife and he wants her to be happy and so do you

Philippa60 Wed 08-Feb-23 18:38:38

BlueBelle, so true. She (my DiL) texted me this morning that she feels so happy to be back in Australia, I was really touched that she wrote to me and also really happy for her and my DS

V3ra Wed 08-Feb-23 19:59:57

Have you set up a family WhatsApp group with all the adults on, the ones in Australia and the ones in the UK?
You'll be able to have group chats and share photos with everyone, and you'll all keep in touch a lot easier.

We do the same although we're all in the UK, though not in the same towns.
We've recently added my son's fiancée as she said she was always asking him what we were chatting about, and wanted to see the photos of the children that my daughter had posted.

Spice101 Wed 08-Feb-23 23:36:23

I'm sure there will be many sad moments for you but this is what your DIL's parents have experienced for the last 9 years.

nanna8 Thu 09-Feb-23 04:42:58

From the other side, when I had babies in Australia I was so envious of other mums who had mums to help them because my parents were in the UK. When you are young you just don't comprehend what your parents go through. I truly didn't have any clue of the sadness you leave behind, they never told me. You are young and full of adventure and life's possibilities. I feel for you, Phillippa.

Philippa60 Thu 09-Feb-23 05:39:22

V3rA, thanks, we do have a few wattsapp groups already but I am thinking of setting up a new one now just for them in Australia with us and our daughter here.
Her husband and the kids don't really need/want the daily updates!

PamelaJ1 Thu 09-Feb-23 06:20:39

We all feel so sad when our children move so far away, I don’t suppose we will ever like it but we do learn to live with it.
Like ‘maddyone’ I can’t see all the advantages of leaving loving family behind but my DD absolutely loves it here. She sails and dives and has a great life.
I have written ‘ here’ because at the moment I’m sitting on the balcony sipping a G&T in the sunshine after slathering myself with factor 50 and mozzie anti repellent!
I am as much in the shade as I can be. I’ve got my back in the sun to clear up my psoriasis. That’s the big bonus.
It’s so nice to be warm but it’s a tad too hot.
It’s a bit irritating when people tell me how lucky I am to be going to Sydney- I am, of course, but I’d rather visit her in Sussex or Lancashire for 2 days at a time.
We have been coming to visit for 20 years now and have seen a lot of the country but still try to go somewhere during our visit to give our son in law a break. We all get on well but I wouldn’t have liked to accommodate my in laws for 2months.😱
I am so aware of how much easier to keep in touch with the U.K. than it used to be. When I was growing up we lived in HK, saw our grandparents every 3 years and had to prebook telephone calls. I think my childhood has helped me to deal with the distance.
My DD is on a family messenger group and talks to us all on a regular basis. It has to be late at night or early morning in the U.K. though.
So you will find your own way to deal with it as so many of us have. It will get easier I hope.