As a child, I didn't grow up with my grandparents nearby. By the time I was five years-old, I was down to one grandparent, my mother's mother, and she lived in Florida while I was growing in Tennessee. She died when I was 10, so there was never the option of having grandparents nearby. But I was always jealous of the other kids, who not only had grandparents, but had grandparents they saw all the time because they lived locally. To be honest, I was also jealous of the idea of getting presents from grandparents too, they always seemed like the best gifts.
But it wasn't to be for me.
After becoming an adult and moving from Tennessee to Maryland (with stops along the way) and then having children of my own, I was once again jealous of in-town grandparents. My husband's parents had both, unfortunately, passed away before I ever met him (his mom during his senior year of high school) and my parents lived 600 miles away in Tennessee. Right where they had lived their entire lives.
Until last week.
I had never ever considered the possibility of my parents moving. I could see my mom being on board but my dad, no, I just couldn't see it. Even when my mom mused about the possibility. I paid her no attention. When she talked about getting rid of stuff and putting the house on the market, I didn't think they would pull the trigger.
Then they did put their house on the market. And then they bought a house five minutes from where I live. And then last week they moved everything out of the house they have lived in for the last 38 years and drove it all to Maryland and became my neighbor.
I still can't really believe it. My kids have grandparents they can see if not everyday then almost everyday. My husband and I have a babysitter anytime we need/want it. Free!
I have help. If one of my kids is sick and can't go to daycare- they can go to grandma's. If I get the call from daycare 11 seconds, after I walk int he door at work- grandma. If I need somebody to be at my house so a repairman can come in the day- Grandpa! The list goes on and on.
My parents aren't quite up for taking care of an 18 month-old and a 3.5 year old 40+ hours a week, so they will still go to daycare, but Caroline will cut down to 2 days a week and start going to part-time preschool 3 days a week. This is a possibility only because Grandma is now available to take her and pick her up.
And it goes two ways. They have us to help them with all of the things that get hard as people get older. Repairs around the house, lawn mowing, navigating this and that. And down the line (hopefully, years and years down the line) care during sickness and beyond. I am so happy that they will be near me for however many years are left.
The truly best part of it all though is that my children love them so much and vice-versa. Nothing makes my day more than seeing my "grumpy-old-man" father break into a huge smile as my little runs to him yelling,"'Pa! 'Pa!"