We live in California with our 18-month old. Our closest family is 2,500 miles away in Atlanta. Thank god for Skype.
I can summarize it in 2 words: It’s hard.
Yes, people do it all the time. Increasingly so. We go where our jobs and business opportunities are. Our parents tend to stay put where we left them. Our siblings do the same.
In the past year, I’ve written 3 full blog posts on this topic, mainly about how lonely it is.
And I never published a single one for fear of sounding like a whiner.
No mas. I’m coming out of the closet… “Hello my name is Meg and I’m often very lonely and I miss my family. I’m sure my kid misses her family too (if she were ever with them long enough to remember who they are), but she can’t talk yet so, yeah, I’m speaking for her.”
From May 12, 2011:
“Back in the day, women spent most of their day with other women in their extended family, and other women in the village. They cooked together, weaved, tended to their children, maybe even complained that their husband’s bison-killing skills weren’t up to snuff. Who knows.
We went to Seattle last weekend to visit my mother-in-law’s family. My husband’s uncle has 3 adult children and 8 grandkids; their house is bustling with activity and kid’s laughter fills the air.
When we arrived at their house, Aunt Doris said something to me like “go eat your dinner; the kids will watch her.” I was all “whaaa? whaaa? what do you… how do I…?”. And sure enough, the older kids watched her, played with her, and generally entertained her. She had a ball and required almost none of my attention. I ATE DINNER IN PEACE. What? A miracle, I tell ya.
I thought to myself… is this how it’s supposed to be? You mean, it isn’t normal for me to chase her around the house all day by myself. Just the 2 of us. Alone. Cuz I can dig this. Yes siree, this is something I can get behind. Whatever this is (motioning with my hands).
Oh yeahhhh. It’s called family, that’s right. I remember reading about it somewhere.
Since we moved to San Francisco, sure, we’ve made lots of friends. Good friends. We love them. But it’s just not the same, you know? When you have one of those days when your baby is puking all over you and you are sick yourself and, mother of god, you really need some HELP. Like, not a babysitter or someone you hire, but like — your mom, MIL, your sister or your best friend. And you realize you’ll have to settle for an over-the-phone vent/woe-is-me session where you are crying so hard you have to stop to catch your breath. That’s the fun stuff.
I want my own tribe, but unless Apple can invent an iHug or iVirtualFamily, I’m really not sure how it’s going to happen.”
I know I’m not alone in this (no pun intended). Too many of us are isolated from our tribe. And it’s not good. There is an emptiness. A void.
So if you are alone in your village of one, I encourage you to create your own tribe. Find other orphan mothers and befriend them, even if it seems like you might not have much in common at first. Because, as women, we need each other.
We just do.