ssl certificate

Staying close to family when I live on the other side of the world

going the distance (2) (1)

“It’s going to be a long time before we all have dinner together again.”

That was the sentence that made me cringe when my husband and I decided to move to Berlin. Sitting across from my grandmother at a steak house, I couldn’t think about the move without crying. My family and I had lived just a few blocks away from my in-laws and a short car trip from most of my family for the better part of ten years. If we needed them to, my parents or my in-laws could take our boys for the night, or at least for a few hours so my husband and I could get things done around the house, spend time alone, or wrap Christmas and birthday presents in peace.

We’d been spoiled, I know, but it wasn’t just the extra help that we would miss. I loved family dinners at my parent’s house and seeing my siblings and cousins during the holidays. I even loved it when my father-in-law would pop by unexpectedly just to say hello. I’ve always been close to my family, and imagined my life with them in it--playing a very large, very important role.

Then we moved away and I joined the ranks of others who don’t get to be near their loved ones whenever they wish. Week after week I missed seeing my parents. I craved my dad’s cooking and the warmth of his home. I wished I could sit beside my mom on her front porch, watching the kids play while we talked.

The first few months I struggled a lot with the distance. Then I met a new friend who’d been in Berlin for just over a year. She’d done the same thing we did--craving adventure and something new. She also missed her family terribly. This summer she’s going back to the US, but in the last couple of years she’s learned a lot and shared some insights that changed her perspective on the distance between her and her loved ones. Here's what she said:

Staying close to family when I live on the other side of the world

  • Being far away is a matter of perspective. Sometimes we can live close to family yet feel far away. On the other hand, sometimes we can live far away and still feel close. Physical proximity doesn’t have to dictate how strong your relationship is. Whether you’re sharing an email or chatting on Skype, savoring those moments with loved ones can make you realize that you’re still just as close. You may not be able to hug them, but you can feel them.
  • Living apart from the ones you love forces you to be intentional. I’ve always tried to be intentional with my relationships, whether with friends or family. Then I lost my easy access to them and realized that I counted on seeing people in passing or at family get-togethers. I wasn’t as intentional as I’d thought. To stay connected now, I have to work harder, and that’s not a bad thing. Reaching out more has challenged me to jump into action when the opportunity comes and it’s spilled over into other areas of my life as well. In that way, being away has blessed me.
  • Life doesn’t have to stop when you don’t have grandparents to babysit for you. I know--some of you might think this one is silly, but up until my move I’d never given a second thought to hiring someone to watch my kids. I didn’t know where to start, or how to find someone I trusted. I fully expected that we’d have to start taking our kids everywhere with us. We’d miss out on things my boys couldn’t attend. That’s not what happened. Within a few weeks we connected with some great people, got some references, and practiced letting go. Now we‘re back to making date nights a regular thing. We’re happier, and our kids are enjoying more freedom because of it.

Though it’s hard to be far from the people you love, I’m grateful for my new friends and for this opportunity to change my perspective, grow more intentional, and stretch as a parent. If you’ve just moved, or if you’ve been away from your loved ones for a while, you’re not alone. I’m with you, and I hope these tips can help you, too.

What tips do you have for people living apart from the ones they love?

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lifetree Kids


Start typing and press Enter to search