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Adult children living in another area: how often do they visit?
Old 08-18-2007, 06:27 AM   #1
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Adult children living in another area: how often do they visit?

Old friend having problems getting his children to visit except at Xmas, and reading his emails is almost painful. He is really hurting, and, I gather, his wife is also.
Son says he is "too busy" with work and will not come (married, no kids); youngest girl (single, no kids) has not been to see them in 8 years! Yes! 8 years (count 'em)!!!
Without getting into it too heavily, what is the normal amount of visits one has with their adult children who live in another area of the country? Say, you live in Florida and they live in D.C. or Seattle?
My mother would never ever win any Mother of the Year awards, yet, if she asked me to sincerely visit, no matter where I lived in the States when I was younger, I would have made a point to visit her. Isn't there some moral obligation to show this type of respect to a parent who must have done something right and done some good for you?
The only reason I can imagine for his children doing this is he was away for weeks and months at a time working all their lives; however, they did have a stay-at-home mother. And, knowing him like I do, I have a hard time believing he married a totally selfish and mean woman. He always dated sweethearts when I knew him, so I can only guess his wife is, too.
What's the deal with adult kids who live far away? Do they visit much? Tell me what I might be in for, folks... (Of course, in all honesty, I would make my son's life miserable if he did not come to visit me...maybe even moving INTO his neighborhood near him. Now, THAT would teach him, eh?)
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:03 AM   #2
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My daughter usually flies down ( New York to Florida )once a year but I fly up to see her several times a year plus this year we had a vacation together .She teaches at a college plus she has a web site business plus she's pregnant so she's really busy .It's important to keep the bonds strong so your friend should stop complaining and start traveling .
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:54 AM   #3
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I am originally from CA, and went off to the USN at 18, and the furthest west I have ever lived as an adult was MI. Early on, I flew home for an average of one 10 day trip every 18 months. They have visited me in each state I have lived in, though not necessarily each residence. In the past 5 years, I have been home at LEAST once per year, lately more (he he - hte pack mule trip is in 5 days!)

8 years is waaay tooooo extreme unless there are family issues, which might be the case - I have known plenty of people who have nothing to do with their families due to unnecessary drama if they visit. So, it is easier to deal with the nagging about not visiting than the horror of being there.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:19 AM   #4
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Fortunately I see all of my kids (4) and my Grandkids (9) ALMOST every year. Either they come by (seldom) or we go see them for usual occasions like HS graduations and/or birthdays. It takes considerable effort on our part in the way of long drives, as neither of us like to fly. Fortunately, all of them are east of the Mississippi so the drives are about 1K miles, one way, at the maximum. We moved to OH from FL 2 years ago to be closer to a daughter and her family. We left our youngest son and his family behind along with our youngest granddaughter who we assisted in raising for about 5 years while son and DIL went to college. I can really attest to the sadness in that move - I really missed the granddaughter. Phone calls did not help because it was really hard to talk to her. Getting better now after 2 years and she was with us this summer for about 6 weeks. Helps if the effort is shared between kids and parents but if parents can do it sometimes the effort must be one-way. Hopefully, over time it will get much better and become a two-way street. I was always gone too when they were small but my kids realize that was the way it was and have never complained. Hope your friend and his wife are able to improve the situation. Maybe you can introduce him to this forum and maybe find some consolation if not help here.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:39 AM   #5
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My siblings who live about 700 and 1000 miles away seldom travel to visit Mom. My brother and SIL work a lot....and weird hours.....and can seldom get vacation time scheduled off at the same time, so it's quite difficult though not impossible, to to make a visit. The last time he was here, was in '98 for a funeral.

My sister, who has some sort of "middle child" syndrome, blames my folks for not treating her like a member of the royal family when she was a kid. My parents were relatively poor, and LBYM'ers, and didn't have the money for a lot of the luxuries that some of her friend's parents could easily afford. But they always provided food, shelter, clothing, medical care, as well as love and just "being there" for us kids.

DS doesn't like to visit because she likes to try to manipulate people, and my folks never bought into that. She and her family fly all over and rent a car so as not to put people out, or drive half way across the country to visit their friends or go on vacations, . But when it comes to visiting Mom, she wouldn't even consider a rental car, and always expected me to take off w*rk to drive 2+ hours each direction, to pick them up and drop them off at the airport. Even though she would rent a car AT the airport to go sight seeing in Chicago! And since I wouldn't take 2 days off work to haul her back and forth, she says she WON'T come visit.

Of course she could travel on Amtrak....which she can catch a few blocks from here home, and we could pick her up 20 minutes from here. But NOOOOO, that's too convenient for US! Though she never had a problem with traveling here on Amtrak when she lived in N.O., and we had to arrange pickup/drop off 2 hours away.

My Mom now says, "Scr*w her! She knows where I live, and she can visit or not. I REALLY don't care anymore!" (BTW, a few years ago my DS wrote a VERY nasty multi-page letter to Mom blaming her for everything from not buying expense clothes and toys, to being a horrible parent, to being the cause for DS's failed marriage. (BIL left my DS because she was such an overbearing, manipulative b*tch! He was actually a really great guy....we had tried to warn him. She stalked followed him all the way overseas to get him to marry her. Poor guy! He always enjoyed coming to visit, and we enjoyed having him!)

And after all these years, she's content with that, and happily lives her life. After the nasty letter, she DID make a few changes to her will. DS isn't cut out of it, but definitely took a hit. OUCH! My brother and I, not so!

So, anyway, my siblings VERY seldom if ever visit dear ol' Ma! But life goes on!
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:17 AM   #6
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Orchidflower, I don't have kids or parents, so my take on this may not be relevant to you. But my first thought is that you said the kids don't visit...except at Christmas. So if they come in December and your friend visits them in the summer, twice a year of getting together seems reasonable to me.

This is assuming that your friend is active and healthy enough to travel to see them. We had the problem of my now deceased FIL not coming to see us. He was a very frequent and active traveler right up until he died, traveling literally all over the world to very exotic places. His preference was to travel to these exotic places rather than come to see us. I do understand how Atlanta and The World of Coke can't compete with Papua New Guinea or Myanmaar (Burma). But the idea of coming to Atlanta would have been to see his son, not a wondrous travel experience. I will also acknowledge that we lived in a small condo without an extra bedroom; he would have had to stay in a hotel (again, very affordable for him, as long as it was somewhere exotic). He had the time and money to travel with his SO to see her five kids elsewhere in the US and Canada. He only came to Atlanta five years ago, because SO's son had just moved here and she wanted to see his home. This son moved from Atlanta shortly thereafter, so my FIL did not come to see us in the last five years! He didn't even seem to care that he hadn't seen his son/DH in a few years, so we went up to see him. So I think the travel thing should work both ways, unless the parent is unable to travel.

That said, I guess the solution is what absolutely everyone in my retirement condo complex has done: moved here to be by at least one of their kids. The kids who live locally (within a 45 minute drive) vary in how often they see their parents. Some come several times a week (especially those who use their parents for babysitting the grandkids). Some of the ones who need to do some caretaking and help their parents may not come even once a week or once a month! There's a very sad situation here where a woman moved here who ahs four kids. One is a missionary, one is in the military, so they both travel out of the country. One lives in Pittsburgh but is so disinterested that he will only give his mom a few minutes occasionally on his cell phone when he's at his kids' athletic games. So she moved to be by a daughter who's single and less than half an hour away. Daughter doesn't see her much at all, even when the mom is unable to drive or get to a medical procedure or needs money (daughter is in charge of the finances). It's really sad! The punchline to all this is that, less than a year after the mom moved here to be by DD, DD is already talking about moving away to Montana! Obviously feels no obligation to look after mom.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:30 AM   #7
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We do a home swap once a year to the cities where my kids live. Once in a while they come here on business and we have dinner. But lately we have been getting a cottage near them and inviting them to come and play. That has worked better for the grandchildren.

Not an easy issue but you have to keep in mind that they have their lives and are pretty committed. When they travel, they want a real vacation.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:47 PM   #8
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parents

My parents said they would help buy me a house if I moved near them. The area is expensive and I doubt I would be able to afford a nice place on my own. Life is too short to see your family once a year if you can help it.
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:17 PM   #9
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I have lived in the Seattle area for almost 20 years, my parents are/were in Ohio. While my mom was alive I always visited at least once a year, usually twice. Toward the end of her life I was there much more due to her ill health. It makes me sad now that I spend weeks with her while she was mostly unconscious and in ICU, but not so many weeks while she was able to enjoy the visit. She never pressured me to visit more, but I know she would have liked to have me closer.

Now that it is just dad (and stepmother) I still try for once a year, but missed last Christmas, so went in June this year. Not seeing him for 18 mos was too long. He is 80 now, and I know our times together are limited so I have resolved to see him at least twice a year. I suggested a family trip to a warm climate for Xmas this year, but his wife if not well enough to travel much at all any more. So I will be going to Ohio more often.

My brother lives closer, in Virginia, but visits much less. He has never visited my dad in his home as he has some hard feelings about my parents' divorce and dad's remarriage. He hasn't been to Ohio since my mom died three years ago, but has seen dad three times in that span - at other family gatherings, including having us to his place for Xmas 2004... and Dad will visit him later this year...

So long story short - I think most of us try for once a year at the minimum, if there are not other "issues."
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:23 PM   #10
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when i lived on the other coast from my family, i only visited during thksgiving or xmas, one or the other - and when work brought me close to home (not that often).

being young i had miserable pay so they usually helped w/ the ticket.

when i lived up north and they in the south, i visited again, near holidays...once the kids came along though i saw them almost every month - me going down or them coming up.

my youngest sister lives about 1.5 hours driving from my parents and hardly makes an effort to visit them. she's the youngest and a leo (hehehe) so i think she's just wrapped up in being a twenty-something.

i think it depends on the personality of the kid and parents - and what point in life you are at. 8 years seems really long though so i wouldn't doubt if there was some drama or misunderstanding...perhaps something minor that has been blown out of proportion over time...
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:07 PM   #11
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Gosh, I did not realize how much this is a sad factor for may of the parents. Listen to friends, visit them, and virtually ignore the parents. What a world we live in -- I am blessed.
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:19 PM   #12
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Even when you live a few miles away as I do it is hard to see your kids as much as you would like!

I always try to get in once a week visits, but today's young people work so incredibly hard that too often their time off is taken up trying to get some groceries, get out a little, do the laundry, etc.

Today I rode over to a son's workplace with him so he could finish something up. Then we out for coffee. The ride gave us an extra 40 minutes or so in the car that we otherwise would not have had. I know one thing- no matter how much time you spent together when they were young once they are on their own with all the responsibilities implied by that, you take what you can get. But if I relied too heavily on my kids for companionship I would be one lonely guy.

Ha
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:34 PM   #13
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I am surprised by how many of my old friends sent Granny away to the "home" the minute she started to get old and gray. The selfish mothers, the cruel mothers...yes, I would understand that one; but, the mothers I am talking about were caring, sacrificing, kind. Were they too good, I wonder? Or is it just the times we live in?
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:18 PM   #14
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Sheryl - I am the opposite of you. I grew up in Seattle and all my family is there but I live in NW Ohio. It is a long flight between the two places but it is worth it. My grandmother died about 3 weeks ago and I am so happy I have been going back to see the family at least twice a year for the last 10 years. Before that, it would be years between trips. No more. Life is too short and who knows what tomorrow will bring. My excuse used to be the price of the tickets but that is nothing compared to the lost time with those we love. Make the sacrifice and head on out on a regular basis.

The UW/OSU game was a great excuse to go back to Seattle again next month!

IMO-A kid who doesn't visit a parent in eight years obviously can't stand the parent. Something is very wrong between the parents and the kids. Sounds like the parent is in denial.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:50 PM   #15
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My view is that the parents can make the disproportionate effort to go see their kids.... as noted by a number of posters here so far. Adult kids are busy with work and families and generally have less disposable income. Spouse and I make most of the effort to see our kids. It has worked out about 50/50 with respect to us visiting my parents in earlier years. We used to sometimes say that Thanksgiving or Xmas is at our house....and you are welcome to come.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:42 AM   #16
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Old 08-19-2007, 12:03 PM   #17
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Meadbh: That is great.
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Old 08-19-2007, 12:14 PM   #18
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I wish my parents would come out more...lots to do here in the NE! Mom and Grammy and I did not cover all of NYC last year (Elderhostel trip - 5 boroughs in 5 days) Excellent trip! I am glad they discovered they can bring guests on Elderhostel trips!
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:30 PM   #19
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Why is it that parents do not do more of the actual visiting? Is this a left over from when the kids were college age and the kids DID come home for food, money and whatever --- and the thinking never changed once the 'kid' got married and/or establish his/her own household?

What else could be more important to retired empty nesters than visiting your own 'kids' and grandkids -- provided they are on speaking terms, that is?
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Old 08-19-2007, 02:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by AltaRed View Post
Why is it that parents do not do more of the actual visiting?............

What else could be more important to retired empty nesters than visiting your own 'kids' and grandkids -- provided they are on speaking terms, that is?
My folks made at least one trip each year to my DS's in N.O., and bro's in MA, from the early 70's up through the mid-90's when my Dad started having some serious health issues. At that time he informed them that his traveling days were coming to a close, and that they would need to start heading back this way if they wanted to see him and Mom. My DS has made it here 3 times since mid'90's, once was for Dad's funeral. My bro made it back here twice, again, one of those was the funeral.

My Mom has been to see my DS about 3 times since Dad died in '98, I took her one of those times. And she and I flew out to visit my bro once. Mom is 80, and after 35+ years of going to visit, she believes it's reasonable to expect reciprocation. I tend to agree. Bro and SIL are empty nesters. My DS only has one HS age 'birdie' in the nest, and they find time and money for a half dozen or more long trips a year.....just not here!

Such is life!
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