My adult child wants to move interstate, but with the grandchildren. How do I navigate my emotions?
Being a parent and having a close bond with your children when they are adults is just so amazing. We talk to each other about everything and anything. They are not only your children but your best friends. However, I can tell you what’s better than that – being a grandparent. I never thought that I would ever be one, I had always hoped to but never actually imagined what it would look like or feel like.
I remember the day my daughter telephoned me to tell me their biggest and best news ever, that they were pregnant. I screamed down the phone and was crying with happy tears. I was present when they had an ultrasound and was told that they were having not one but two babies. I almost fainted when they said: “I told you I’m like Beyonce.”
It’s been 17 months since the birth of these beautiful twins – their greatest gift, my greatest gift – and I absolutely love them beyond words and have a very special bond with those two babies. When I don’t see them or hear from them at least once a day, it’s a bad day. So what do I do when the mother of these grandbabies tells me they are thinking about moving to Queensland, three states away from where I live?
My daughter is currently in Queensland on holiday and Facetimes me with the twins, as they do almost every day … only this time it’s a different call. They tell me that they are thinking about moving back to Queensland. I say back because my children were raised in Brisbane but my daughter moved to Melbourne for university when they were 20 and soon after we all followed: my partner and I, my son and youngest daughter.
When I heard them say this, my heart was slowly breaking and my jaw was on the ground. I stopped listening, as I was trying to find words to say, and then I heard: “I would only do this with your blessing.”
You could hear a pin drop. I needed to break the awkward silence. I told them that they should probably wait until they got home to make life-changing decisions because it’s one thing to be on a holiday and another to be actually living there. I know this from experience: recently I had a holiday in the Cairns area and it felt so good being up there among the Daintree Rainforest that I pictured buying a little block of land and living up there. But as soon as I got home to the cooler climate that I am accustomed to, I quickly changed my mind.
I told my daughter that although I have been missing them – and not just missing them but actually fretting for them, and especially the twins, so much that it has been almost unbearable some days, as it has been the longest time that I have not been able to hold and cuddle these babies.
My mind was racing but when I looked back into the screen, trying not to cry, I looked into my daughter’s eyes and reluctantly told them that it didn’t matter what I thought and they should make up their own minds. I said I would support them and even suggested that the warmer climate may be good for the grandchildren.
In all honesty, I am selfishly hoping that they decide to stay in Victoria to live because I can’t bear having a long-distance relationship with my grandchildren as I fear they will forget who I am and I don’t want them to forget me. But as parents we need to allow our adult children to make their own choices and decisions in life. Whether they are the right choices or wrong decisions, it’s for them to make.
I know that my oldest daughter will always make the right decisions when it comes to their children and, whatever they and their partner decide, I will fully support them and make it work.
Veronica Heritage-Gorrie is the author of Black and Blue