This week I’ve been feeling the effects of being far away from my two (now adult) kids. Strange isn’t it that when they get an opportunity to be together and enjoy each other’s company that it brings out feelings of longing for us all to be together again.
I realize that I made a conscious choice to move back to my native Australia in December 2020 with the full knowledge that we’d be separated, but perhaps it didn’t really hit me until this past week.
Being far away for long periods of time isn’t particularly unusual for families, especially mine.
Perhaps it’s because Zach and his girlfriend (Kathryn) are planning on moving back to North America early next year for him to pursue his Doctorate in History it’s starting to hit home.
What does far away mean?
Well, even when I lived in Toronto, Zach was studying in Montreal at McGill University (5-hour drive east from Toronto) and Sam was studying at the University of Waterloo (1.5 hours’ drive west from Toronto). The reality was that I was able to spend time with them infrequently at best.
This was at the heart of my conundrum…
When I broached the idea of moving back to Australia to live in a more temperate climate, they both agreed that it was a great idea.
They reasoned that they had their lives to live and there was no point me staying in Toronto waiting for them.
See what I mean, so mature for kids in their late teens and early 20’s.
So, with this encouragement and their collaboration we were able to collectively buy a home in Australia and sell our Toronto home.
We had created lots of great memories in our Strathmore Blvd home over the years, but also many treasured memories of our travels and especially our road trips.
Living far away definitely has its challenges.
Even with Zach studying in Canberra (Australia’s capital) it’s a 2.5 hour flight from Brisbane). We’ve been able to spend some weekends together and have another planned for September.
I feel as though I’ve done the best I can with both of them and raised them with a level of independence and confidence rather uncommon in two so young.
I’m so proud of both of them and their accomplishments, and yet they have so much of their lives ahead of them.
Even though I have these feelings of sadness with not being able to spend time with them I realize that this is completely normal.
Often ask myself if things would be different if I still lived in Toronto?
Likely not is my response.
After all who, as a young adult wants to spend time with their parent. Not many I’m guessing, as they have too many other things to do and explore.
Strangely, I’m 100% supportive of this approach, so whether I live in Toronto or in Brisbane the result would likely be rather similar I suspect.
This is also great for them in that they don’t feel obligated to visit or spend time. Nope, we have to methodically plan our visits which are made even more special.
My daughter Sam is travelling to Scotland this coming week to spend time with her childhood friend Daniella who’s been studying at the University of Edinburgh since they graduated from High school.
Both of them are in 5-year undergraduate degree programs – Sam for Data Science/Mathematics and Daniella for Veterinary Science (she will graduate as a Vet).
They plan to spend a day or so in Edinburgh before embarking on a circumnavigation of Scotland. Even at 22 Sam is off exploring the world.
If it’s one thing I have definitely instilled in them both in that the world is their oyster in terms of travelling and exploring.
Even Zach said during his recent visit on the way to visit Sam that he was planning on taking Kathryn to Vietnam.
Admittedly I was a little surprise, but when I asked him why his response was priceless.
He said it was because I had loved it so much and always spoken of my time there with such fondness he felt almost compelled to go and explore it.
I’m taking that as a huge compliment!
Earlier this year when I was in the US for two weeks, Sam visited me in Los Angeles for a long weekend which was incredible. We explored so much of the city during our three days, long hikes, great talks, and fabulous meals together.
When we head back later this year I’ll likely get her to visit us in NYC.
Knowing that it’s her favourite US city I know we’ll have lots to see and do with Judy and I.
Once Zach knows where he and Kathryn will be making their new home (likely this time next year), then we begin making plans to spend time with them as well.
It will depend on which school he can get into for his Doctorate so it could be anywhere in the US, although he’s hoping for the north east and an Ivy league school, but it could just as easily be California or Washington DC.
Until next week