I remember when my mom was leaving after spending 5 weeks helping us right after Donovan's birth. As I said good-bye to her I suddenly felt this pang of sadness that took me by surprise. Here was this woman, my mother, who had taken so much pleasure out of caring for her newborn grandbaby, and she was now going to be separated from him by an entire ocean due to our choice to live overseas at that point in time. I felt sadness also for D's sake, for his missed opportunities to be closer to his other relations who already loved him so much even though they knew him only by pictures and some video then.
Tonight, as we prepare to leave back for California after spending two weeks surrounded by family, I am feeling that same sadness and it has completely taken me by surprise. I look at how happy D makes his grandparents, and his aunts and uncles; how much he loves playing with them and the way his face brightens up when he sees them (and how he got so upset when my dad and sister left for Dallas this afternoon); how nice it is for Zach and I to get a break as our parents step in to help care for our kiddo, even little things like all the great toys they have stashed here for him (and his cousins) and wishing they got more use... and then I think about the reality of living so far away, of how big a pain it is to travel with D and how often do I really want to fly with him (and without Zach), how much harder the whole process will be when we have another child to deal with. That as we leave now, I have no idea when our next trip back will be (perhaps summer...?).
In a way, it's silly. My mom has already booked a visit to our place in February, and Zach's parents and my dad are both planning their own trips shortly thereafter. What may happen over the next few years is maybe we depend on people coming to us more often and maybe we only come to Texas once or twice a year. That's not a terrible life by any means-- many have it much worse than that, and D will get to see plenty of his grandparents, I'm sure. But, gosh, wouldn't it be nice to live closer, even in the same town-- to allow D to bond with them that much better, to see them most weekends, to have easy and available baby-sitters, etc.
Alas, I don't think it is meant to be-- there are many reasons (both personal and professional) Zach was drawn away from here and out to California to begin with, and those reasons have not changed (as he pointed out to me earlier today, about 40 out of the 52 Sundays of the year we can wake up to gorgeous sun and comfortably walk to the nearby farmer's market wearing pants and short-sleeves-- hard to do that many other places). And I do love our life in California, and love the kind of childhood D can have growing up there (for example, we'll be taking him to Yosemite for his first visit in a few months!). Still, there are times when it just hurts to have to be so far away, and when I wish things could be different.