I'm totally proud to present to my blog friends the newest member of TeamStaton, Eloise Grace Walker.
Our second granddaughter and the first child of our daughter Adrian, Eloise today is the ripe old age of two weeks. This little bundle of joy has remarkably long arms and legs and amazingly large hands and feet, so I'm going out on a limb with the early prediction that she will end up as the tallest member of the family.
And I'm 6'3".
With two here and #3 on the way (our first grandson makes his debut in late January) I'm often asked, "So are you thinking about moving back to the States now?" In fact the subject came up just yesterday when I was chatting online with an old friend.
I wrote an article for International Living a couple of months ago that I'd like to share with you here. Hopefully it sheds some light on this emotional topic.
What about the Grandchildren?
One of the major concerns for retirees considering relocation abroad is being separated from their grandchildren.
My wife and I weren’t grandparents when we arrived in Cuenca over two years ago. Now we have a one year old granddaughter and two more grandbabies on the way.
Since we've reached this milestone many friends still living in the States have said to me, “Gosh, it must break your heart living so far from your grandchildren.”
Really?? We visited family for two weeks in March and the whole month of June. And we’re going back in the fall to welcome our newest granddaughter into the world.
It is a completely erroneous impression that because we live abroad we'll be missing out on our grandchildren growing up. The truth is we’ll see them more because we've lowered our monthly expenses and we're no longer tied to jobs.
If we were still working in the US we'd have 3 or 4 weeks vacation a year and hope we had enough money to visit. Plus we want to see the world and selfishly perhaps do not want every day of our available travel time devoted to family visits.
Now to be fair, our two children live in different states, so there’s no way we could live near both of them simultaneously. Therefore some form of travel would always be necessary even if we still lived in the US.
Your feelings towards your grandchildren should be an important part of your thoughts regarding expatriation. And brutal honesty about those emotions must drive your decision.
I know a grandmother who moved to Cuenca and found herself absolutely miserable being separated from her grandchildren. Although they loved the city and made many friends, she and her husband were back in the US in less than six months.
Do you already have grandkids? Do you live close by and see them often? Are they the light of your life? Then listen to your heart. Moving abroad is probably not going to work out well for you.
But if you are comfortable with visiting maybe not as often as you’d like but for longer periods of time, by all means continue to make your plans.
Most locations in the US and Canada can be reached from Ecuador in hours. With Skype video you can stay in touch for free as long as you like and as often as you desire. You don’t have to physically be there every moment to feel like you’re an important part of your family’s life.
Reality check. When we left our little granddaughter after the last visit I bawled my eyes out in the airport. Would I love to hug her every day? You bet. Being apart isn’t easy, but for now it’s doable.
Don’t let the notion of being “so far away” stop you from considering a move abroad. You’re retired now! You can enjoy an exciting new life and still visit those grandchildren as often as your budget allows.