Ok. This is not a post about the boyband and stories of their many impregnations of groupies! (Future post – I promise). But it is the phenomenon of family living away and we ALWAYS must do the visiting. Warning: ranty post!
I love my family to bits but most of my family live down the country. If I am honest, it is lovely for us to have the best of both worlds, yet it is as if time has frozen still when we go down. I pretend that I don’t have another life.
I have had to make the journey down hundreds of times since my kids were babies. I remember stopping off the M50 to change a nappy, stopping at the Applegreen to fill up on snacks, water or just to get a breather from the drive and finally settling them in the middle of the night
Why do I bother you might ask? It is simply that my children would not have a relationship with their grandparents and cousins if I didn’t make the effort.
I have gotten the ‘we will come up and see you’ promises dished out – yet never any follow up. I have come to realise that this is a bit like borrowing a book from the library that you never actually read or sharing a Facebook post about homelessness but not actually doing anything remotely socially aware. In your head you feel by promising, you have done something virtuous. But the follow up on a promise is the hard bit.
Ok, we live in a smallish – yet it is a four-bedroom house. Very different to the monstrosities that people tend to build in the country. Yet I have felt that the living arrangements, the facilities are substandard, and this may be the reason why people do not come to visit. I had one family member mention that sleeping arrangements might be an issue when they declared ‘Well? Where shall we sleep?’ I had no idea until this point that they had previously grown up in a house the acreage of Downton Abbey! 😊 How ever could one bear the inconvenience?
We live in the capital city. We are lucky to have museums, parks, even the lakes of Wicklow, a short driving distance away. I think it would be lovely for people to make the effort. I understand people have busy lives – we all have! Kids in school all week, and then sports and music lessons, parties and playdates at the weekend. I think it is promising that gets to me. Just be more honest and say you can’t make it.
I guess I feel less than valued in my family. I have been living away and raising kids away from my immediate family and my kids’ cousins. If one of my family lived away, I would make it my business to come up and visit. At least once. Even if she lived in a tent.
I have no wish to come across as a victim. I am used to packing bags and heading down. What gets to me is the lack of willingness to share in my life up here.
Anyone who has come to visit, I have valued it so much. It meant the world to me. I am trying to be a better host and I feel guilty we have a smaller house and must shift beds around. But life is too short to care about these things. It is about time spent together. For some, the bother is much too much.
I understand that when most the of the family are in one place, it makes it easier. Yet I want to say to people – it is good for kids to travel to new places! It is good for kids to have to bear a car journey (it builds travel resilience!). It is good for kids to have to adjust – even to a different county in Ireland! And for parents to get their act together and just get going! You too can feel the discomfort of trying to settle a tired child in new surroundings – it might teach you some kind of weird enlightenment! But mostly – NEWSFLASH! – life is busy for everyone.
My boys have a map of Ireland in their room. They can pick out all the places they have been. A little advantage on the forth class curriculum!
I have heard someone once mention that the road to Dublin is longer than the road down. I am no cartographer, but this defies reason! Great excuse though.
It makes me sad that as my kids gets older, it is genuinely harder to go places at the weekend. They have more commitments.
But I know I will always have to be the one to make the journey down, filling my petrol and checking my tyres and heading for the M50. It is great when I get there of course. I know it can be intense as I must get used to a new dynamic and settle the kids as they can be somewhat jetlagged from the car journey! We share stories of school and life and people at home try and imagine what it is like. But I know talk of home feels more important. I must to be the one to slot in.
I will stop asking though. New year’s resolution – just grin and bear it. Smile at the well-meaning promises. I think I will run for US president in 2020 though? I promise.