I’m on the train back from London to Exeter after another fast paced visit to family and friends. We always take the slow train home from Clapham, partly because it saves journeying into central London and partly because I rather enjoy the slightly longer train ride. I get a lot done, even in my daughters company (while she is learning phonics or watching a movie on my iPad).
This particular trip was planned so that I would be in London for a committee meeting of the CIC that I am a Director for and to see my Mum on her birthday. We planned to stay for five days but we extended our visit by a few extra days to support my Mum. You see, Mum has been ill on and off for a while, and we have been trying to find a solution to make her well again so I stayed for a meeting with a private consultant to support her.
When it came to leaving, Minime and I had been in London for a week. She was missing her friends at preschool, the cats, her toys and we were both missing Daddy and boy massively. I was torn between staying for a little longer and going, Mum said that it is OK to leave, that she’ll be fine (but she always says that).
The stark reality is, that the life we have chosen in Exeter (200 miles from our old life in London) means that in exchange for the sea, the smiley people, Dartmoor, free range kids, great school and all our new friends we have limited physical contact with our parents. We can’t just nip round when they are feeling ill or be there to advocate when they have regular consultant visits. Mass’s Mum has also been ill and we couldn’t get up to see her when she was in hospital for a night.
It makes me feel sad.
But life is one big learning curve, and my most recent lesson is that as parents we have reached that age. An age I knew nothing about until I reached it. One of my Exeter Twitter community nailed it by calling it the ‘sandwich age’, the point in life when we need to be carers for our children and simultaneously support our parents. The distance adds an extra complication and makes it feel like we almost have to chose between our children’s future and being there for our parents should they need us.
We’re not moving back to London any time soon, so 2017 is all about trying to convince our parents to move down here so that they can enjoy life in a beautiful part of the country, watch the kids grow up and have us close by should they need us.
The mission began at Christmas with the purchase of these gifts from Leela on Magdalen Road, it’s my effort at not-so-subtle (said Dad) NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) – food for their subconscious – with a bit of luck if they look at them long enough, they’ll think it’s their idea and move!
Mission ‘move to the South West’ is in full swing! Wish us luck.
Are you in a similar situation? I’d love to hear your stories. Drop us a comment below if you care to share..