“Oooooooklahoma where the winds come sweeping down the plains,” where the heat is intense, the buffalo roam, and where my husband and I are raising our kids 1000 miles away from our families.
The four years since moving from Wisconsin to Oklahoma has been an adventure for sure. The things we have gotten used to is the heat, the fact that everything is closed in Sundays, and the continuous mocking of our yankee accent (it’s pronounced b-ay-g, not b-ah-g).
The thing we are still learning to cope with, and will probably always be learning, is being 1000 miles away from everything and everyone we grew up loving.
If you are anything like me, then family really is everything to you. I remember being surrounded by family growing up. When my parents would go out, chances are that our grandparents would watch us. Christmas and Thanksgiving were always filled lots of food, and lots of family. Those memories are apart of me and have helped to shape who I am today.
Being so far from your family obviously has some major down points, but there is some good that can come from it too; if you are open-minded and have a positive attitude.
First: The Cons
There, of course, is the obvious: not seeing each other whenever you please.
Your family will be seeing your children grow through the posts of Facebook, instead of being able to squeeze them and kiss them whenever. Our two year-old, who is also on the spectrum, takes a while to warm up to her grandparents whenever they visit because she simply does not know them. This, as a mother, is truly heartbreaking, and it takes all my strength to refrain from just packing everything up and heading back home.
It’s up to you and your significant other to raise your kids. This means zero help from family. The stress of parenthood lies all on you, and let’s face it, parenthood is the most stressful job there is.
It’s common to find yourself sinking into depression, especially when it comes to saying goodbye after any short visit you may have. Saying goodbye never gets easy, in fact I feel that it gets harder each and every time. What makes it worse is that, in the back of your mind, you know their departure is inevitabile, and you want so much to squeeze a meaningful interaction out of every last minute they’re here.
It’s hard to watch the kids say goodbye with tears in their eyes, as they cling to their grandparents for just a little bit longer. It’s an overwhelming feeling of sadness that can take over if you let it.
Second: The Pros
When you aren’t able to rely on the help of family to help raise your children, you find that you and your significant other unite. Since moving away from home, my husband and I have grown closer than ever. We are all we have, and we are a stronger, more united, team because of it. It’s good to for the kids to see their parents so much in love and united on all fronts.
Before we moved, we didnt think about the time we spent with our family. We didnt make special trips just to say hi to the grand parents. Now, though, the week or two that you are able to spend with family is more meaningful. When you only have a limited time to be together, you make that time count. Every thing you do is meaningful, and the time is spent truly engaged in each other.
Every family has its own drama. You can’t have a Thanksgiving meal without a little family drama. Living apart means you can hear about the drama without it taking over your life, like it could when you live closer to the source.
You gain a deeper appreciation for your family. When you move away, you begin to appreciate everything they did for you. I’m a firm believer that appreciation is one of the most humbling emotions out there.
If there were ever a good time to live apart from your family, it would be the technologically advanced society that we are in.
Ways to cope with being apart
We may live apart, but that doesn’t mean we never see each other. Thanks to things like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, our families are able to see us on a daily basis. They are able to watch the kids grow up through constant updates on social media.
We are able to communicate through FaceTime, Facebook messenger, Skype and so on. Watching my daughter FaceTime her cousin who is only 2 weeks older than her, is one of those precious moments that melts my heart. They are still able to be goofy, virtually play and maintain that special cousin bond. You are able to virtually attend family functions without having to clean up afterwards.
Now, I know it’s not ideal, but it certainly helps when those days apart are few and far between.
Relying on each other is probably the best way to cope. Our family dynamic is something to be proud of.
On those days where we or the kids are really missing home, we go on mini family adventures. We create memories that our kids will grow up with. We hug a little tighter, and kiss a little deeper. We hold hands and, most importantly, we tell each other how much we love one another.
It’s hard (to say the least) living apart. We miss our families something fierce, and those feelings will never go away, but it doesn’t have to be the worst thing ever. Thanks to social media platforms, we can still stay connected. Hell, we can still have a drink by the fire pit with each other.
Your family relationships will get stronger when you are apart, and you begin to realize how much you love them and how much you appreciate them. The times you spend together will become lifelong memories that you carry with you.
So go ahead and shed a tear or two. Take a moment to be sad. Now go back to your memories and cling to them. Hug your husband a little tighter. Take the kids on a grand adventure. Post those pictures on Facebook, and take the time to have frequent FaceTime calls.
You may live 1000 miles apart, but you will always be in each others hearts.