My husband and I are retired and have lived in the same neighborhood for nearly forty years. We are in our mid sixties and healthy, knock on wood. Our house is paid for and we have no major debts.
Our first grandchild was born a couple of weeks ago and being a grandparent is everything they say it is! Seeing and holding that baby was overwhelming. She is a delight.
It was very hard to say goodbye to all of them and drive eight hours back to our home. All we could talk about was moving to be closer to our daughter. It’s something we’ve considered before but the arrival of this baby cinches the deal. We both want to be able to see her grow up and help out in any way that we can.
But when we brought this idea up to our daughter the next day, she seemed quite hesitant, asking us what we would do with ourselves without any friends or our many community activities.
This hurt our feelings. It didn’t seem like she wants us in town. The conversation ended awkwardly and since then, we haven’t mentioned moving down there again. Should we forget about the whole thing? Maybe she likes things just the way they are? She has her in-laws there and I know they are a bit taxing. But we have always gotten along well her and our son-in-law. Is there something she’s not telling us? Now what do we do?
Congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter. She sounds like an absolutely wonderful addition to your family.
The arrival of grandchildren often can be the tipping point for grandparents when it comes to deciding where they want to spend their retirement. Like many other people, it is natural that you want to live closer to your daughter’s family.
However, the first thing I would ask you to do is to some perspective on this entire subject. Reading the last paragraph of you letter made me feel like you two were on a runaway train and the conductor was nowhere in sight. Granted, you didn’t get the reaction from your daughter that you were looking for and yes, this would be hurtful. But let’s stop for a moment and take another look at this situation.
For starters, your daughter has been a mother for a matter of weeks. Not only may her hormones be racing around uncontrollably but if she’s like the majority of new moms, she’s sleep deprived as well. Meanwhile, she and her husband are trying to make sense of their relationship in the face of this life altering event … and oh yes, he’s undoubtedly longing for a good night’s sleep as well.
In other words, your daughter may not have been in the best frame of mind to hear about what you two are considering. Please, don’t make the mistake of reading anything into her reaction. In fact, I’d ask that you cut her a little slack.
Your daughter was actually quite wise to ask you about your friendships and activities. This move will only be successful if you two are independent and committed to creating full lives for yourselves. You and your husband have some real homework to do regarding this move. There are a number of decisions to make in formulating this plan.
Right now, your time would be best spent allowing your daughter to settle into motherhood. Drop her a little card or note that lets her know how happy you are about the new family member. Then, explain that in your enthusiasm, your timing about moving was off; that you’ll table this discussion for the time being as you investigate the nuts and bolts of re-locating.