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. 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.