Other People’s Children

I have been cleaning house, little by little, all week long, in preparation for my daughter and her family’s visit.  If you follow My Pajama Days, that would be Emily, DW, the Tortoise, 13, and the Hare, 9.  Plus Luna Puppy, or course.  Some people may ask, “Why are you spending so much time cleaning when you’re going to have a houseful tracking in a truckload of sand every day?” People who ask aren’t mothers.  That’s just what mothers do.  Everything has to at least start out in order before it descends into controlled chaos. My husband likes it when we have house guests because he says the house never looks better.

Besides, there is such a joy in preparing for a visit with my children, especially since it happens only once a year.  Yes, we do visit them in their homes, but it’s not the same as having them here where I get to pamper them and feel like the mama again.

I have been looking forward to their visit for months now.  I have many more things planned and dinners I want to cook than they have actual days to spend with us.  After five fabulous days with them, the laughing, the sharing, the reminiscing, the boogie-boarding and sand castle building, they will leave me to put things back in order, and I will stand at the doors of their empty rooms, listening to the silence.

Two and a half years ago we left San Antonio, a city we loved, a city where we owned our own house outright, a city where we had many dear friends, a city our children had grown up in, and moved to Virginia so we could be closer to our children.  Even though they live in Boston and Michigan, this is so much closer than Texas.  Plus, we’re only two hours away from my brother and sister-in-law.  So, in spite of the fact that we now have a substantial mortgage again and are living on one income and my teacher’s pension, it’s been the right choice for us.

The bonus, my husband says, is getting our niece in the bargain.   K. is my husband’s goddaughter, and when we lived in Texas, we rarely got to see her.

K. deep in conversation with Old Ben

Since she lives only a mile from her parents, my brother and sister-in-law, we get to see her quite often.  Now this precious young woman is getting married this month and we’ll have a new nephew to dote on as well (T. already loves my chicken enchiladas!).  The two of them will come and stay in one of those empty rooms, from time to time, making the house not so empty anymore.

I love to watch my husband with my niece.  When he talks to her, he has that dad-like quality in his voice again.  He’s already got a project he wants to work on with his new nephew.  Male bonding.  No, these are not our personal children, the ones we paid for with a credit card (as I like to tell my own kids), but they are our children nonetheless, and it feels so good to love them.

I never thought about how much our parents missed us when we left them in Connecticut and moved to Texas all those years ago.  I never thought about how my grandparents must have felt when we were growing up and they only got to see us once a year.  I know now.  Yes, I wish we could see our children more.  We miss them more than they will ever know, but it’s amazing how providential it is that we are not left lonely because we have these two cherished young lives to be a part of.  And, God willing, we will be the best Great-Auntie and Great-Uncle on the planet!

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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22 Responses to Other People’s Children

  1. I’m so happy for you and your reunion! So true about people asking Moms stuff; Moms just DO. We are at the beach and our daughter flew in to join us. Our son drove down from 3 hours away for just two nights, but it was so special to have us all together. I’ll be sad next Sunday. Thank goodness, we can blog away to get our thoughts off of missing them!

  2. Your post really resonated with me today as I read it. Just a few hours ago, hubby and I stood on our deck waving goodbye to our youngest son and his girlfriend. She lives on the other side of our state and he lives in the state next door. Our oldest daughter lives 13 hrs away and only our middle child (daughter) lives near (about 45 minutes away). As we stood there, both hubby and I commented that in the last few years, we’ve come to realize how our parents felt when we lived so very far away from them. I hope you had a wonderful visit with your family! 🙂

  3. I hope you, Pajama Days ( one of my personal fav blogs) and granddaughters have a wonderful visit. My children live very close to me, well one still lives WITH me, and I’m so glad they do. “Partia”l empty nest was hard at first but I have found a new freedom in it too. I’m sure your niece and her new hubby are blessed by you and your hubby. Loved your post.

  4. E.C. says:

    Great post. 🙂
    Wishing you a fun weekend and a very safe & Happy 4th of July!

    • comingeast says:

      Thanks, E.C. Besides my daughter and her family, we’re going to spend the 4th with my brother and sister-in-law and that sweet niece and her fiance.

  5. I didn’t know that was your daughter! How cool! We lived right next to my parents for several years and then moved away and to this day, I regret it. We live hours away from any family and it’s really tough. Have a great visit!

    • comingeast says:

      My husband’s job took us so far away from our parents. We never thought it would be a permanent move. We thought we’d be there five years, tops, and then we’d find a job back home. Never happened, but at the time, we did what we thought was the best thing for our little family. You have to go where the jobs are nowadays, and they’re seldom where you want them to be. Thanks, Kelly, for your comment. And yes, don’t I have a cool daughter!

  6. judithhb says:

    Hi Susan. I recently reflected on how my parents must have felt when we left them behind in London, my elder sister to travel to the US and me to New Zealand. I am one of the lucky ones. My children have both come home to NZ, married NZers and settled down close to where I live. Long may it last.
    Enjoy the visit with your daughter and family. Make many happy memories to keep you gong through the time when you don’t see them
    Judith:)

    • comingeast says:

      Were your parents able to visit you every so often? It must be an awfully expensive trip back to England, though. How fortunate you are that your children are near you. I know they are a great comfort. Thanks, Judith.

  7. Enjoy your visit with your daughter and grandkids! That’s great though that you have family nearby. Even though my kids are still young, I can see that someday I will be missing them terribly so I try to enjoy each and every day I have with them now. I cringe to think of the day they move out and go to college. Although an empty nest has it’s perks I’m sure!

    • comingeast says:

      It would be nice if you could have an empty nest only when you wanted it and still have your kids when you wanted them. Doesn’t work that way, I’m afraid. I’m sure we will have a great week; all they want to do is go to the beach. That’s an easy thing to do here!

  8. Leah says:

    Have a wonderful visit!

    • comingeast says:

      Thanks, Leah. I just hope I don’t give my daughter any “Oh, Mom!” moments that she writes about in her blog when she gets home! I’m expecting I’ll have some fodder from my granddaughters, though.

  9. Your posts are always so beautiful! They just warm the cockles of my heart, as my mother would say.

    • comingeast says:

      Thank you so much. Have you any idea where the cockles reside? I’ve always wondered.

      • Ignoring for a moment that your question was probably rhetorical…
        At the time that expression came about, it was believed the chambers of the heart resembled the shell structure of a mollusk. Hence, deep in the chambers of your heart. Personlly, I think it’s a bit deeper and to the right of your heart strings.
        Don’t you just love words/expressions?

      • comingeast says:

        Even if it was rhetorical, I love your explanation! Yes, I do love to find out where certain words and expressions come from. Thanks for the info.

  10. Julia says:

    What a poignant post! I’m heading in this direction myself, and it’s difficult to contemplate… however, it does give me LOTS to write about. Have a lovely, lovely visit and wonderful time being Mom — best job ever!! 🙂

    • comingeast says:

      Oh, Julia! I feel for you as you head in that direction. Life has changed so much, and not only for the better, since the days when families grew up and stayed in the same small town or city. Families, like ours, are the norm. And yes, being Mom is the best job ever! Thanks, my friend.

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