I have just one grown daughter (50) who is occupied with her own life as she should be. My grandson is away at boarding school which he loves. While I see friends my desire for more time with my little family hurts my heart. Are you in a similar situation? Do you have little family? I find it hard on the weekends when most people are with their families....children, grandchildren, etc. How do you cope with this? It feels a little daunting as I grow older to think I have no family to rely on. I feel that I have to be my own best friend and advocate. It gets tiring. How about you?
The more I hear from people who either have very little family, or none, or are estranged from their children, the more grateful I am that I have never been able to have the luxury of assuming that there is anyone other than me who will make a life for me.
Hope, I can tell you that there are many, many people who do NOT spend every weekend with their families. I'd be willing to bet that even some who say they did, didn't. I do know some people who have "helicopter" families, where the entire social life is within the family; and it's a cultural thing. I have a friend who visits her mother every Saturday -- and resents every minute of it. And I know people (and I'm one of them) who fills their weekends with friends and fun things to do.
I'm in a social group of women aging without children. The woman who founded it wants ONLY women without children because the ones WITH children spend a lot of time bemoaning that their kids are not around for them enough. We are all cold-eyed realists who don't have the luxury of thinking there's anyone other than the pseudo-family we are creating who will look out for us. We have no fantasies of dying in a fluffy bed with a beautiful view while our daughters expertly change our catheters and roll us over to prevent bedsores -- all while trying to juggle a marriage and a job and kids; surrounded by adoring grandchildren drawing cards that say "I love you grandma." We're too busy evaluating CCRCs and senior apartments and whether we should move to a one-story house and paying our long-term care insurance bills. People may feel sorry for us, but I find my cold-eyed realism to be a comfort.
I don't mean to sound harsh. I know that you would like to spend more time with your daughter. But the truth is that she DOES have her own life, and she doesn't know what you want or need unless you tell her, and see if you can come to some kind of agreement as to when you will see each other -- and make it quality time full of love and laughter, not rehashing of old grudges and whinging (not saying YOU do this, but MY mother did).
And most of all, the fact is that we all need to create a life for ourselves. If you have children and grandchildren, they are certainly part of it. But it is up to US to write on that blank slate we've been given, the one we never wanted.
I moved 500 miles away and made new friends, and we ARE that circle that relies on each other to go to movies and restaurants with, or drive each other to appointments, and we even make holidays together.
I'm guessing that at least some of the ostantatious bragging about time with family that your friends talk about is wishful thinking. Reach out to others and make your own fabulous life. I know you can do it; I'm living proof that you can. (((HUGS)))
I'm in a similar situation, due mostly to geography. My son and DIL and their 3 kids live 3 hours away in Des Moines. I go up there every couple of months- it's really a major operation for them to get here (5-year old, almost 3-year old and a 4-month old). My widowed Dad and 4 siblings live in NC and SC. Heck, even if DS and DDIL lived nearby they have full lives. I guess it's been that way so long I'm used to it- DS went away to college in Des Moines and stayed there.
I'm retired but have a LOT of activities- just about to leave for a church Finance Committee meeting but I'm on the HOA Board, in the Garden Club and Toastmasters and get to the gym every day. I'm also dating a very good man- he lives a little over an hour away and is still working FT so we see each other maybe once or twice a week, but it's good to have someone you like and trust and can snuggle with.
As Bergen said, you rebuild your own life. If I ever het to the point that I can no longer live independently I'll probably choose a place in Des Moines but I'm "only" 66 and I hope that's many years away.
People who are childless can't understand the bond between children and parents. I think most of us here have children who are adults living their own lives. We did our jobs well, and they are out in the world.
My two sons and a daughter-in-law are all the family I have, and we've gone through a lot since my husband died two years ago. My newlywed son distanced himself from me after my husband's death, because as he told me recently, he couldn't bear the pain I was in. It forced him to think about losing his wife someday, and he couldn't face it.
I am not a cynical person. I do believe my children will be there for me when I need them; we've discussed it. However, they may not always be there for me when I want them, so I understand how that feels. It felt very daunting at first, but over time I've realized that I am much stronger emotionally than I thought I was.
Now I look forward to the times I do see them or talk to them, and our relationships are stronger, I think. More equal, if that makes sense.
Remember that your daughter and grandson love you, but they have demands on their time and energy that may make it seem as if they don't have time for you.
We have to embrace the "new normal" as best we can. Talk to your daughter and tell her what you're afraid of. Maybe she can reassure you. Just having that talk helped me.
I hope this helped a bit. Please keep talking to us, we have some really good people here who understand.
Wishing you comfort~
I only have my son, he is a sophomore in college, is boarding but is only 1 hour away. I visit him twice a week sometimes staying over. He is very much in favor of this & sometimes comes home for the weekend. My husband just passed 2 months ago so we really need each other. In a few months I am going to begin dating again because I just don’t want to be alone. I am looking for a serious relationship. My ideal man would be a widower who has at least one child. I would love that. It would expand our family. Do you live close to your daughter? Maybe you could try to work in seeing her once or twice a week. I totally understand how you feel. My brother & his wife live in another state. My parents are not alive. My husbands siblings are horrendous, I’m better off not seeing them. So I have some friends locally but they all have more relatives & don’t understand how alone we are.
Yes Melissa if someone doesn’t have children they don’t understand the parent/child bond
Btw visiting my son tonight. Having the time of my life-so happy! We probably won’t go to sleep until 2-3 am. It’s a good thing his first class isn’t until 10:30
Wonderful Laurie. Sounds like you have a terrific son. You deserve it. I too have a daughter and cried my eyes out tonight because I just lost my husband of 33 yrs last month. I believe as well that there is a special bond, and I have a sister who never had kids and we have nothing to bind our lives together with sadly, but I realized the only one I can cry too is my 24 yo daughter, and she took the time to listen to me even though she has a 9 month old daughter and a 6 yr old from her husband's previous marriage. I opened up to her I had missed our closeness and really needed her right now, and I was glad I did. Thank you for allowing me to share I am NEW to Soaring Spirits.
This may appear twice...the site seems to have trouble completing the Reply. I am childless as well as distanced from my own family (long story but much better for me). I have always been very independent. It's tougher now on my own but I got this covered, well at least most of the time. I am hoping there may be some members here who live close by to me. I certainly know that past couples friends cannot be relied upon. That happened early on...I was suddenly widowed in 2004 at age 46. What a rude awakening when it got oh so quiet after the funeral services. Huh ? Fast forward to today...my little 9 month old puppy and I are each other's family. I have acquaintances in the area so I'm not in complete isolation. I get out at least 4x per week, even if it is just a drive to state forest land with good tunes on Sirius satellite radio playing. I have accepted that I am completely on my own and go forward from there. It can and will be done. Because I say so, for myself. :)
Upstate NY, close to Syracuse. Feel free to send a friend request. :) Please note that I am widowed since 2004. Not that it matters...time is irrelevant.
Great response. I have never been to Wisconsin. Ever been to upstate NY ? Lots of small lakes and streams and dairy farms and killer sharp cheddar cheese. Sound familiar ? :) I'll check in a moment to see if the Friend request processed. I just got home from a very full day. I volunteered at my Legion busing tables and doing dishes (with no hope of promotion LOL) for the annual free turkey and ham dinner, then traveled to 2 small town bar/restaurants who had free food out today. Talk about kindness...theirs not mine. :) I have leftovers to go up the wazooooooo.
@Freebird: I'm happy to hear that there are other towns that have bars that do a free buffet on Thanksgiving. The town I used to live in does that and while I never went in the two Thanksgivings after my husband died and before I moved away, I was happy to know it was there. I miss that place.
I just happened upon the places. My plan after the Legion work was to just drive around in remote state forest area with my sidekick Pups (9 month old puppy) and listen to tunes. That is my usual head clearing exercise. Sometimes I will see deer, turkeys, and an occasional fox. When I saw the bar lights on, I stopped in. What a difference that made. I also saw a lady I used to work with. She was at the Legion, sitting by herself. Her only brother passed a few years ago. She knew my late husband, and I knew her brother. I had told her of my plan to go for a ride (and where) while I sat and chatted with her at the Legion. She motivated and found me at one of the places that was open. So we had each other to spend the holiday with, so to speak. I am so glad I motivated and got my not so happy self out of the house.