Coping

I read this post by the Mad Momma, and it really struck a chord.

Before my marriage, I had never lived away from my parents. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. I’m incredibly grateful I had 24 years of living under the same roof. But that meant that when I did move away from him, it hit me hard. Not being able to see them everyday, missing the daily hugs, kisses and conversations, missing being around them for special occasions. I come from a big noisy family. Most of the family is based in Madras, so there’s always something happening. One cousin would be getting married, while another would be having a baby. The babies would be growing up and hitting all their milestones while I live so far away. My mother recently turned 50 and my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary the same year. I celebrated both occasions by video chatting with them. Considering we have limited vacation time every year and the cost of air tickets, it is obviously not possible to fly back to Madras on a whim.

I would love for my parents to visit me for long durations. But the more I think about it, the more it strikes me how unfair such an expectation is. My parents both have active careers, and active social lives. They have a huge circle of friends and family, with plenty of events to attend through the year. Having lived in Madras their entire lives, they’ve turned into what I call “pillars of the community” and they’re always busy doing something or helping someone out. And recently when only my mother came on a short trip, I realized how much my dad missed her. It isn’t fair to tear them away from their lives.

Every now and then, I would lapse into self-pity where I feel incredibly bad for myself for missing everyone so much.Β Until recently, when I had a moment to myself. I realized I was only making myself miserable by going over the things that I miss over and over again. Moving to the United States was entirely my choice. My husband and I made this decision together. Having made this decision, there’s no point being miserable with the consequences.

The only way I can keep my sanity would be by not-thinking about it. So, that’s what I do. I try not to think about all the things that I’m missing. I try to come up with ideas to make up for them, without letting myself wallow in self-pity. I spend at least a couple of days a week chatting with them, simply because I have to see their faces at least that many times a week. I send them snippets and pictures of our life here. I’ve also been trying to focus more about the things that I love about my life now.

Sometimes I think about how my life would be if I didn’t share such a close relationship with my parents. If I were the kind of person who was content to chat with them once a week, see them once in a couple of years, and generally not deal with the daily pain of missing someone you love so much. It would certainly be easier. But would I trade the closeness for the peace of mind that would come with a little distance? No, not for anything in the world.

 

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10 thoughts on “Coping

  1. Could relate to this post so much. I come from a very closely knit family. As long as I have, it was us four people and that was my world. The sister and I share this bond with the parents that, in spite of being away from each other, we are constantly together on whasapp/hike. We have to share every single detail among each other. I call my parents atleast twice everyday as that is number of times I need to talk to them to remain sane πŸ™‚ The husband on the otherhand, doesnt bother talking to his parents and my MIL seems ok with it. I am not saying that there is no love but the bondage is not same as mine. I too sometimes wonder how would it be if I dont share this bond with my parents?! All of us would suffer less for sure – not constantly missing and worrying about each other but I wouldnt trade this love for that peace of mind too.

    Big hugs P. I am atleast in the same country so I understand how you feel.

    1. We seem to be soul sisters, GB… πŸ™‚ My husband and his parents are the same too. None of them seem to mind – in fact, they probably wouldn’t have anything to say to each other if they spoke more than once a week. Not that it means that they love each other any less – like you said, the bond is just different.
      Ah if only there was a middle ground between loving them so much without constantly missing them!

  2. Ah! A post after my own heart. I left home at 17 to study and since then apart from regular visits home, I have never stayed with my parents through the whole year. Now I am married too and I live abroad too. Despite the years of practice, I still miss being with my parents and seeing them everyday. I understand exactly what you mean when you say it’s unfair to expect them to visit too often or for too long. Daily telephone talks and whatsapp chats do help though and little by little I too have learnt to cope. πŸ™‚ It’s all a part of growing up I think. Thank god for modern technology! At least I don’t have to rely on weekly letters to parents – like my mother had to!

    P.S: What is it with husbands and calling home once a week? It’s the exact same with my husband and his parents!

  3. Like you I have made up for the distance in our own way. Whatsapp somehow more than Skype helps. I also manage to talk at least every day or so to my mom. Thank god for unlimited calling plans. But I would of course like to be close physically too. Have my cake and eat it too, I suppose . maybe we would be getting on each other’s nerves with our expectations and other things but would like my parents to see my child every week in person, have them pick her up from school sometime, come over for a special Thai dinner that I have made etc. But then I want this on my terms – not having to go back to India for all this. Instead have them live down the street from me here..which sounds awfully selfish ..they have their own lives in India. But guess I can dream a selfish little dream here.

  4. You remind me of my daughter. She got married 11 years back and relocated from Mumbai to Kerala and shortly thereafter to Tamil Nadu. I missed her during the early day . It was as though some one was wringing my heart. She then wrote a letter which was dipped in blood and written from from the heart about how her life has changed. Slowly I adjusted to new reality of realizing that children have to build their own nests and create a new life for themselves.

    Now she has two children who had very distinct personalities. Skype and telephone have bridged the communication gap.

    You write well and will keep reading your blogs.

    Thanks for reading my blog and following it. Will appreciate your comments greatly as view point of younger generation would stimulate more ideas.

    Warm regards.

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