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View Poll Results: What's the ideal proximity to your kids, all things considered?
Close as possible, neighbors or even shared housing 2 4.35%
Same town, under 30 minute drive 16 34.78%
Same area, up to 2 hour drive 13 28.26%
Day-trip range, 2-4 hours 4 8.70%
Anything driveable in a day, 4-8 hours 4 8.70%
Easy air travel access (direct flights) 1 2.17%
Not a factor; we get together when it works out, or not 6 13.04%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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Ideal proximity to the kids?
Old 12-26-2009, 08:58 AM   #1
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Ideal proximity to the kids?

Spinoff from the "You can have them" thread...

Some ERs are fortunate to have it all: live near their adult kids and grandkids in a location that everyone loves, and all are of a temperament to provide the perfect balance of space and togetherness.

In our case, we are too darn far from them. While our first reaction is to get as close to them as we can, the realities of that goal might include foul weather, unsuitable city size and congestion, lifestyle issues, non-mutual baby sitting expectations, or even just being taken for granted after you up and move. So I pose the question above.

I'm thinking 2 hours or less, though closer would be fine if the area was agreeable and appropriate to our FIRE lifestyle.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:14 AM   #2
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I'd love to be able to spend more time with my daughter and her new husband. We are very close, and keep in touch daily but we are physically located thousands of miles apart.

Choosing to move near one's children in retirement can pose some problems for retirees. For example, retirees may not want to bounce around the country as much as some upwardly mobile young adults do. And even if the children stay put, the retiree may not really like the location where their children are, for example due to climate as one board member has mentioned.

All in all, an interesting question, Rich. I suspect that the answer depends on a multitude of factors that vary depending on the individual families involved. In our case, my daughter is a very busy woman, and for example often she is taking a break at work when we e-mail back and forth.

She is not retired, though I am, and it would be unfair to expect the amount of time from her on a daily basis that I get from her when I fly to Oregon to see her. Also, she really understands and sympathizes with my desire to live in a lower cost-of-living area and she knows that Portland isn't it. She and her new husband probably appreciate having their few spare moments away from work together, alone (maybe even making my first grandchild? who knows? ).

So, in this day of multi-media possibilities and cheap flights, I voted "not a factor".
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:16 AM   #3
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We live about 40 minutes away from the kids and their families. I believe a healthy and enjoyable relationship is less about physical proximity and more about proper boundaries and communication. It's important to be clear about issues like stopping by to visit, babysitting or helping out in some way.

If you want 24 hours notice about watching the little ones, tell them so. It's also important to respect each others privacy by calling ahead and not just stopping by whenever with no notice. Grandma and Grandpa might be doing something the kids don't think we do anymore
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:44 AM   #4
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All in all, an interesting question, Rich. I suspect that the answer depends on a multitude of factors that vary depending on the individual families involved...She and her new husband probably appreciate having their few spare moments away from work together, alone (maybe even making my first grandchild? who knows?).
For us, the arrival of the grandkids changed everything. It's a draw that transcends even our desire to spend time with the kids, maybe because the "magic years" are so brief before you become less relevant in their busy, peer-driven lives.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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I have a girlfriend whose husband just could no longer stand Chicago winters, so he up and moved both of them to San Francisco. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery...but she got so depressed--having moved away from her daughter who had the one (at that time, now 3) grandchild--she had to go into therapy. I think Rich is right for some about that grandkid thing.
I'm looking at the prospect of moving far from my one child who will stay in this area for work and school, and I really am not looking forward to it. I am sure he will leave this area after 3 years or so, but still.... I know I'll really miss him alot being nearby. However, it would be silly of me to stay here since this area has little to offer me insofar as reaching my goals.
My vote goes to in the same town as ideal (but not intruding on his private life or he mine).
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:51 AM   #6
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For us, the arrival of the grandkids changed everything. It's a draw that transcends even our desire to spend time with the kids.
Exactly - - there are many factors involved that vary markedly from family to family. These decisions are very individual and there is not a "one size fits all" answer to your question, IMO.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:51 AM   #7
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I would live in the same town as my daughter except I really do not like the remoteness of the area . I will move closer to her when I get to be a certain (not sure of the number ) age . I've experienced first hand what caring for an elderly relative long distance is like and I will not impose that on my daughter . Right now I get by with frequent air trips but since I've become a grandmother I feel I am missing so much . I am considering renting a place in their town for a few months in the summer just to spend lots of quality time with my grandson and not be a burden to my daughter .
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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One of the reasons we moved to Florida was to be close to DD and our 2 grand children. We live about 4 miles apart and that seems to work well for everyone. On the other hand we have a new Grand Daughter living in NY as that's where my DS still resides with his family.

I would much rather have everyone near by as family is very important to me and we love to see the grand kids all the time.
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:27 AM   #9
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One of the reasons we moved to Florida was to be close to DD and our 2 grand children. We live about 4 miles apart and that seems to work well for everyone. On the other hand we have a new Grand Daughter living in NY as that's where my DS still resides with his family.

I would much rather have everyone near by as family is very important to me and we love to see the grand kids all the time.
I'm with 73ss. Being just a few miles away makes causal get togethers likely. A son called day before yestrday and invited me to meet him and grand-daughter at Trader Joe while they shopped for a party. Then yesterday am they called and asked me to breakfast, and later in the day the whole family got together for Christmas dinner.

Also it makes it easier to help out with a chore without making a whole day out of it.

I never drop by uninvited, though that was my childhood experience. I will call ahead and say, "Hey, I'm up the street from you, is it a good time to stop by for a few minutes?" Our door was always open, and people were always popping in and out. Looking back I wish that my wife and I had run our family life the same way, but we weren't near as casual.

As far as grand kids, I only have one so far, and I love her intensely. Still, I believe no more than I love my sons and their wives. I enjoy visits with the couple who don't yet have children as much as I do with the ones who do.

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Old 12-26-2009, 10:53 AM   #10
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As I stated in a thread that I started a while back, we have both sides of our family in town, and most within a 30 min drive. I do not know if my children would stay around, but they would be free to move to pursue their career. I would rather that they stay in town, in order to see each other casually throughout the year, but would not discourage them if a job opportunity opens up elsewhere.

I suspect that I will not have grandchildren though. Our older nieces and nephews (30+ year olds) have no desire for children. I suspect ours will be the same, and would not influence them one way or the other.
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Anything driveable in a day, 4-8 hours
Old 12-26-2009, 11:30 AM   #11
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Anything driveable in a day, 4-8 hours

Just my opinion.

I agree with hankster. Whatever the arrangements, terms should be negotiated upfront.
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Distance is not a factor, because....
Old 12-26-2009, 12:12 PM   #12
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Distance is not a factor, because....

Well, since I have no kids or grandkids, I'll speak from my Mom's perspective on this. Our family has never been really 'close' since we siblings grew up and did our own thing.

My oldest sibling moved out of the country shortly after graduating HS, and moved back to the U.S. (1000 miles away) about 10-12 years later, and has stayed in that area ever since. My next oldest sibling moved to the deep South (900+ miles away) shortly after college, and remained there for about 32 or 33 years, before moving to Kansas (700+ miles away).

Both siblings had offered over the years to dump the grandkids off for the summer let the grandkids come visit G-Dad and G-Ma for the summer, over Christmas break, spring break, etc.. But our folks both declined the extended babysitting service visit, unless the G-kids were accompanied by their parents. So that ended that!

Before my Dad passed away, he and Mom drove to each sibling's home at least once per year, until the last few years when my Dad started having serious health issues. At that time he told them that he was done traveling, and would like them to start visiting him occasionally instead. Each one made one token trip, and that was it.....until his funeral. Since then, only the one in KS has come this way for a visit, one time several years ago. They both have the time, money, and energy to travel all over creation...and they do...however, they never seem to be able to work it in to visit their mother....or even call or write more than about twice a year. My Mom (and I) have flown to see each of them a couple of times in the years after Dad passed away.

But because of their lack of interest or desire to come visit her, Mom has basically said the heck with them both! She says they know where to find her if they want to visit, otherwise her life goes on just fine without them. She does hear from most of her grandkids regularly, so she's very happy about that. She's actually kind of glad now that my siblings are so far away, because it makes it very near impossible for her to be expected to visit them due to her old age, and it also keeps them from trying to dump the G-kids off for extended babysitting services visits.

Therefore, distance is not a factor...since nobody really gives a sh*t cares to see the others anyway! Life goes on!!!
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:55 PM   #13
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Sad Grandkids are God's gift as you grow older.

We have 5+2 (inherited SIL's first marriage)...and truly enjoy watching/participating in their growing...ages 7-15...6 boys and one little girl. Had all 7 + parents for X-Mas Eve. Sill cleaning up after 15 for the day/dinner and package opening.

Also, in the last month we have attended a piano recital for 2, basketball tournament for 2, hockey practice for 1 at U of M (Minnesota) college arena with Goldy the Gopher "assisting", X-Mas shopping with 3 for their mom (divorced), lunch with 3...just for fun and...had granddaughter appear at our door 8AM last Sunday dressed as St. Lucia with all the goodies...coffee/cookies/Swedish bread. My wife had taken our Granddaughter to her 96 year old Great Grandpa until he died a year ago...and our super DIL decided to continue the tradition and surprised Grandma this year...along with our son and grandson.

We have two homes...one three hours away and one 30 minutes from our grandkids. We are planning on consolidating and likely will sell the one three hours away even though it is our 80 acre hideaway in the country. Wife really wants to be close to the kids/grandkids and it is fun being part of their lives.

Can't imagine once or twice a year visits...we have been fortunate that they have stayed "close" to "home".

Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year...tomorrow we head to the "country" where there is a fresh 20++ of new snow. TomCat


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Well, since I have no kids or grandkids, I'll speak from my Mom's perspective on this. Our family has never been really 'close' since we siblings grew up and did our own thing.

My oldest sibling moved out of the country shortly after graduating HS, and moved back to the U.S. (1000 miles away) about 10-12 years later, and has stayed in that area ever since. My next oldest sibling moved to the deep South (900+ miles away) shortly after college, and remained there for about 32 or 33 years, before moving to Kansas (700+ miles away).

Both siblings had offered over the years to dump the grandkids off for the summer let the grandkids come visit G-Dad and G-Ma for the summer, over Christmas break, spring break, etc.. But our folks both declined the extended babysitting service visit, unless the G-kids were accompanied by their parents. So that ended that!

Before my Dad passed away, he and Mom drove to each sibling's home at least once per year, until the last few years when my Dad started having serious health issues. At that time he told them that he was done traveling, and would like them to start visiting him occasionally instead. Each one made one token trip, and that was it.....until his funeral. Since then, only the one in KS has come this way for a visit, one time several years ago. They both have the time, money, and energy to travel all over creation...and they do...however, they never seem to be able to work it in to visit their mother....or even call or write more than about twice a year. My Mom (and I) have flown to see each of them a couple of times in the years after Dad passed away.

But because of their lack of interest or desire to come visit her, Mom has basically said the heck with them both! She says they know where to find her if they want to visit, otherwise her life goes on just fine without them. She does hear from most of her grandkids regularly, so she's very happy about that. She's actually kind of glad now that my siblings are so far away, because it makes it very near impossible for her to be expected to visit them due to her old age, and it also keeps them from trying to dump the G-kids off for extended babysitting services visits.

Therefore, distance is not a factor...since nobody really gives a sh*t cares to see the others anyway! Life goes on!!!
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:56 PM   #14
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Goonie, that's just sad for Mom, but, unfortunately, seems to happen waaaay too often in families. I wonder what causes that?
If my son ever pulls that never visiting thing with me, I would be only too happy to visit him...to strangle him if nothing else.
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Old 12-26-2009, 02:39 PM   #15
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I think that all who think Goonies situation is sad are merely projecting. Not all families need to be close, or want to be close. Not all grandparents like being around their grand kids on a regular basis. My parents moved 5 hours away from this area. Some of us are still here and some had moved. As far as I know we all call them or visit them off and on throughout the year. I think grandparents tend to set the tone. My brother and his immediate family are much closer. His kids and grand kids visit all the time. He says there is always a lot of drama at his house. But his wife likes holding the family close. It just depends...
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:02 PM   #16
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From personal observations, what I have found is that in cases where the children drifted away from their parents, their spouses had a lot to do with it. Grandparents who like to see their grandchildren need to learn to get along with their son or daughter-in-law.

I will not pretend that our families are all harmonious. My sister has a brother and a sister whose flaws are known to everyone. Rather than keep dwelling on it, we try to ignore it. We always try to stay out of quarrels and avoid choosing sides, and my wife often ends up being the mediator.

We also try to keep from bad mouthing relatives in front of the kids; it reduces their respect. Once you hear a bad comment about someone, it is difficult to erase that negative feeling, even if the person was later found out to be misunderstood, or has tried to make amends.
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:17 PM   #17
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The one thing that has worked for us in the past few years is we do a yearly vacation together . It's lots of fun and the memories are priceless .
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:34 PM   #18
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.....I wonder what causes that?.....
Well, in my middle sibling's case...it's her feeling that she was mistreated as kid by being 'deprived' of the amenities that her 'rich kid' friends enjoyed. Our family was fairly poor, and couldn't afford to live an expensive lifestyle. We always had nice clothes and shoes, plenty of food, and a nice (though small) house to live in. Everything was paid for, and there was no debt at all. If there was something that was needed or desired, when there was cash available, it would be bought...but never on credit. Unlike her rich friends, we belonged to no country clubs, us kids never got a car until we could afford to own and maintain it, we didn't live in a ritzy area of town or in a fancy house with fancy furnishings, etc.

BTW....we were informed by her of her presumed 'mistreatment' in a couple of letters that she wrote to our mom and dad, and another one that she wrote just to our mom. She let them know what awful parents they had been, and how neglected she had been, and all that she missed out on as a kid........ah, yeah...right! It's always amazed our folks, as well as me and my oldest sibling, that she actually feels that way. Of course me and the older sib always hung out with kids pretty much in the same socio/economic situation as us.....IOW...we didn't hang with the rich kids, so we both just thought we were normal and everyone was like us!!

So since she was sooooo 'mistreated' and 'deprived' as a kid, she really hasn't wanted anything to do with the rest of the family since she moved out....other than the cash handouts for Christmas, birthdays, and the like. And the inheritances from our great-uncle and our G-dad!

As for the oldest sibling...I think a lot of the reason that he hasn't been around much at all has been mostly just logistics...and the fact that his DW has a great deal of control over where they waste spend the money.....looooong story.
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.......Not all families need to be close, or want to be close. Not all grandparents like being around their grand kids on a regular basis. .......I think grandparents tend to set the tone....
Our folks would have loved being around the G-kids more, although they didn't want them coming and staying for long periods of time (like all summer). The folks tried their best to at least stay in touch with the G-kids, even if my siblings didn't want to stay in touch with the folks. My oldest sibs daughter, who will be 34 after the first of the year, has written maybe 5 or 6 times in her entire life, even though the G-folks wrote and called many times every year 'til she moved away from home without giving a new address or phone #.

The middle sibling's kids (all 3 of 'em) always write and email and keep in touch with G-ma.....and vice versa!!! One is still living at home....just dying to leave and move away...and the other two have gotten as far outta o' Dodge as they could without fallin' into one of the ponds (Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean)....one in NOLA and the other in San Fran. Hmmmmm.....thinking about that.....maybe my mid sibling is the root of her own problem, and not really our folks as she has assumed!
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:45 PM   #19
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I don't have kids so I can't chime in on this. But, I am reminded of a very funny episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond". Debra and Ray were deciding on an optimal location to buy a house. Ray drew a map showing the target area - they needed to be close enough so that his parents would not need to stay overnight, but not so close that his mother could drop by unexpectedly with food. Anyone else remember this episode?
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:51 PM   #20
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From personal observations, what I have found is that in cases where the children drifted away from their parents, their spouses had a lot to do with it. Grandparents who like to see their grandchildren need to learn to get along with their son or daughter-in-law....
Fortunately, our folks always got along great with my sibling's spouses. They and I always thought my (now ex-) BIL was the greatest guy in the world...and we all always made sure he was aware of that....and he felt the same toward us all too. Haha...funny thing is, he moved as close to the edge of the continent as he could to get away from my folks' daughter....just like her kids did.

And the folks and I have always gotten along great with my SIL, and vice versa....even though she is a tad......ummm, let's see.....hmmmm....eccentric...yeah, that's it, eccentric. Aw, who the heck am I trying to kid....that girl is flat-out odd! (but very nice!)

So in our family's case, it wasn't the G-parents or the spouses of their kids....it's been the kids (my siblings) them selves.....and the one granddaughter that vacated with no forwarding addy. In fact my siblings' spouses always looked forward to getting together once in a while.
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