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Eyres: Do Your Kids Live Too Far Away, or Too Close?

If you’re an empty-nester now, or if you will become one soon, do you want your grown children to live right next to you? Or would you like some space?

One of the results of traveling so much with our children when they were young is that they now think they can live anywhere they want in the world. When our second son Jonah and his wife Aja moved to New Zealand, we complained about taking our grandkids so far away. “Just fall asleep on the plane Dad,” Jonah told me, “and when you wake up, you will be here.” (Yeah, sure, if flights were only free!) Aja added, “Besides, you will probably Skype us more often now.” So here’s the alignment of our nine grown-and-moved-away children (keep in mind, we live in Park City, Utah):

  • One in Boston
  • One in New York
  • One in Washington, D.C.
  • One in L.A.
  • One in San Francisco
  • One in Seattle
  • Two in Phoenix
  • One in St. George

So do we wish they lived closer? Sometimes.

We don’t see them every night. We miss a lot of the grandkids’ performances and games. We Skype and blog and miss them all the time. But then again, we don’t get the grandkids dropped off on us night or day at the spur of the moment.

And when we are with them, we are really with them! Two or three day visits pack in more quality time than we might have in months if they lived down the street.

We have a reunion every summer at a wonderful place in Idaho called Bear Lake that is fantastic beyond anything that could happen if we were within spitting distance. And we’re lucky that we travel on business as much as we do—and you would be amazed how many destinations can be reached by going through one of the cities listed above.

We’re also lucky that technology has made face-to-face instant communication so easy. We use oovoo.com to get six or eight of us online (and on screen) at the same time. We have Yahoo groups where everyone sees what everyone else is doing. And we blog about our lives! Oh my do we have bloggers!

We guess the bottom line is that it’s not how far away or how close your grown kids and grandkids live. It’s about how closely you stay in touch, how much you all support each other, and how you express and pass around your love.

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