There are a lot of good reasons to move closer to your grandkids. Then again, there are some good reasons to stay where you are.
I asked some grandparents who made the move what happened next.
“I love that I know the little things”
Francine Larson • Madison, Connecticut
“Eleven years ago, my husband and I decided to leave our life of 30 years in Pittsburgh and move to Connecticut to live near our only child, her husband, and their 18-month-old son. Since our son-in-law owned his own business, we felt there was a good chance they would remain in Connecticut for the long term.
I had spent most of my adult life living hundreds and thousands of miles from my own parents and siblings. My daughter grew up without any grandparents around for birthday parties, trick-or-treating, or school plays. I wanted a different experience for my grandson. We were lucky that my husband was able to find a great job.
Now, we have three grandsons, 12, 9, and 5! I usually spend one day a week at their house helping out, and I occasionally spend the night. The boys know us well. We are able to spend time with them not only on special occasions, but anytime. I love that I know the little things, such as what kind of cereal they like and what is going on in their day-to-day lives.
While moving in our 50s was not an easy adjustment, we cannot imagine life any other way now.”
“My life is full and my grandson asks for me often”
Margy Stevens • Louisville, Kentucky
“I was driving from Ohio to Louisville every week upon the birth of my grandson. Once I fully retired, I knew I wanted to be near family and in a very fun city.
It was hard to leave and start a new life in my ‘Third Chapter.’ However, I do not regret it.
I subscribed to the Louisville paper months before the move so I would feel a bit more familiar. Facebook helped by offering pages that focused on ‘things to do.’ I also joined two groups on Meetup.com.
It was my mortgage broker who introduced me to my new best friend, and I met my other dear friend in a cooking class.
My life is full and my grandson asks for me often. Nana’s house is a great place to be.”
“The adjustment has been major and a strain in many ways, but I don’t regret it at all”
Elaine Kantor • Reston, Virginia
“We moved from our home of more than 35 years in Virginia Beach to northern Virginia to be where our first and only grandchild lives.
The adjustment has been major and a strain in many ways, but I don’t regret it at all and in spite of having to shovel snow off our walkways several times each winter, deal with major traffic headaches, and be farther from friends and other family, I would do the same thing all over again. All the negatives are outweighed by the positive of being here and actively involved in our grandson’s first year.
I was doing more babysitting at first, but now Mommy has it under control and I have cut back to two to three times a week. That way, we get to establish a new life of our own, in addition to our role as grandparents. We have made friends and we are moving ahead. Still not fully unpacked after thirteen months, however!”
“If you are going to relocate, just make sure you can relocate as often as they might”
Rob and Deonna Taylor • Tuxedo Park, New York
“Last year we put our house in New York up for rent and moved to a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco to help out our daughter and son-in-law with daycare.
Daughter and son-in-law then proceeded to get jobs in New York City seven months later. So we had a few months vacation in San Francisco to play out our one-year lease and are now headed back to our home in New York.
It was a wonderful experience. All of us are looking forward to being together again with us as a backup to daycare.
If you are going to relocate, just make sure you can relocate as often as they might.”
“Sadly, it doesn’t always work out”
Elizabeth Fairbairn • Spokane, Washington
“Sadly, it doesn’t always work out.
We relocated to the states from England. Without going into all the drama, I would suggest doing the move in stages before utterly committing. Extended holidays if possible. Try and ascertain what each person thinks is going to be different when the move is made.
We now have no contact with the grandchildren but luckily we love living in the States, which is a huge recompense for the heartbreak we have endured. Good luck to all who try this.”
“Initially, we watched our grandson five days a week, but we quickly realized that that was not being retired”
Jessica Simpson • Cape Elizabeth, Maine
“We always thought we would retire on Cape Cod, where we vacationed as a family for about 20 years.
Then my daughter and son-in-law got their post-college jobs in Portland, Maine. We began vacationing in Maine and fell in love.
My daughter also announced, ‘There is no way I am making the trip from Maine to the Cape,’ and we realized, ‘What is the point of living somewhere where your kids and grandkids have to sit in horrendous traffic on weekends and holidays to see you?’ so we changed plans and moved to Maine.
Our home is within a few miles of theirs. We moved from New Jersey about four months before the first grand was born and a few years after my retirement. Hubby retired after we moved.
Initially, we watched our grandson five days a week, but we quickly realized that that was not being retired. Now we have two grandkids, and we watch them three days a week during the school year.
We love being so close, both emotionally and geographically, and just as in other endeavors, you get back so much more than you give!”
“It’s important to establish your own social circle in your adopted home locale”
Peter and Judie Storandt • El Dorado, Kansas
“We moved from D.C. to Kansas four years ago to be near our three local granddaughters (then 13, 9, and 2) and serve as backup to their busy parents.
We established a regular late-afternoon/dinner gig on Wednesdays with the youngest, and a second with all three on Fridays. We channel all arrangements through their parents, and the parents have the final say on any requests from the kids or us.
It’s very important to establish your own presence and social circle in your adopted home locale. My wife and I are involved in the community independently of our family members.
Everyone gets along and is comfortable filling in for one another as needed. The oldest granddaughter just obtained her first car and full-time summer job, and that has facilitated easier transportation for the siblings (we don’t have to do it all). Oh, and we added a swimming pool.”
“Our grandchildren adore their great-grandparents”
Darla McCarrell Armstrong • Norco, California
“My husband and I haven’t had to move since we live within ten miles of our six grandchildren. [But] five years ago we decided to move my parents (now 90 and 94 years old) closer to us. We built a home for them at the back of our property.
It’s a win-win situation! My husband and I can help my parents when needed, and our grandchildren are in and out throughout the week.
Our grandchildren adore their great-grandparents. Gigi and Pepaw love to sit on their front porch and watch the grands play in my backyard (their front yard).”