Just came back from visiting my grandbabies who live way too far away. They’re 1 year old twins now and I get to see them about 4-5 times a year. While I always stay for about a week, it takes 4-5 days for them to warm up to me enough that we can really play and snuggle. Holding their hands for patty-cake was a biggy this visit. I understand but it’s still hard. Our daughter would love us to be closer. While at times that sounds great to me, most of the time, I know we each need our friends, our activities, our communities and they happen to be 1000 miles apart.
We visited with my local daughter and her husband over the weekend. She lives an hour away and I probably see her once a month. I try to be considerate of them, and not demand a lot of their time. When we were young, our folks were all nearby but we yearned for time with our friends; our parents were obligations, to an extent, even though we had good relationships with them. Time is tight when you’re 26!
So we each make our way, and try to make our time together happy and rich and emphasize as we did when we were raising them that it’s quality, not quantity that matters.
We bobble along this way until we can see over the horizon. My dad is 92 and we’re moving him from his home in FL to a senior community in MD to be closer to us. He and my stepmom moved there 30 years ago, intent upon living their lives with their friends, in their communitiy focusing on the activities and lifestyle Florida could offer them. We saw each other once or twice a year. The kids grew up knowing that Christmas vacation always began with 2 days in the car. We made memories when we visited. We talked late into the night. We also suffered through a lot of Vaughn Monroe records. It was quality not quantity of time that mattered.
Now he’s alone and I really want Dad back. His friends have died or moved away. He has fewer outside interests. He’s amenable to being here instead of there and I’m regretting that it’s taken so long to convince him to come. Now the emphasis is on quantity of time. Looking back, I realize it all has quality!
How does this track with career transition? I think relationships hold a bigger place in our heads and hearts as we get older. So we balance the scales differently than we did when we were younger and the weight of many decisions fell on the side of career advancement. I’ve always read that being the sandwich generation meant being pulled in too many directions, maybe the sides of the sandwich are the buffers that prevent me from taking the inevitable ups and downs of career change too seriously. Maybe they give me a perspective I wouldn’t have if I only interacted with other seasoned professionals like myself. I need to remember I was transitioning out of chaos and busyness that I disliked. I need to hold onto the value of patty-cake and listening to Vaughn Monroe along the way.