Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

We have never hesitated to move to a new location, and of course, we dragged all five children with us before they were adults that could make their own choices. Now that they are adults, they are not following us around the country anymore. They are branching off, building their own lives, miles away from where we live. Even as I celebrate their independence and adventure, this breaks my heart. I would love for every one of my kids to live right around the corner, but realistically, this is not what we’ve spent years teaching them.

Kids have to live their own lives.

Derek and Kyle are both living in Utah, and Parker is talking about moving out there as well in a year or so. Utah is on the complete opposite side of the country, a considerable distance from our current home in New York. We hated living in Utah, but Derek and Kyle love it. It works for them, and more than likely, it will work for Parker. They will make their own choices, regardless of where Dave and I live. If we’re honest, we can’t even predict where we will be two years from now, much less our own children. Especially since Kira, along with her family, are planning a move to England in the next few years, and where the grandbabies go, so will I.

How do you stay connected?

We see every day how easy it is to stay connected with family. Our granddaughter, Hallie, FaceTimes with her long-distance family in England every day. She knows her cousins, her aunts and uncles, and her grandparents as well as she knows us. We also experience it ourselves, with frequent phone calls to Derek and FaceTime dates with Kyle. There are a million ways to stay connected: video calling, social media, text messages, care packages, and regular phone conversations all contribute to long-distance relationships. With the existing technology, there is no excuse to not stay in touch with those you love, regardless of location.

You don’t have to live around the corner to show family love.

Many families are rooted in the same areas, dedicated to staying close because they can’t imagine anything other than regular in-person get-togethers. Although that’s wonderful, it’s not realistic in how we’ve raised our family or how we choose to live when the kids are all out of the house (our house will be for sale soon; we plan to ditch everything we own and travel full-time).

We have taught our kids to explore and be adventurous, and that’s exactly what they are doing. What reassures me is that I can still show my kids I love them, every single day.

  • Celebrate important dates – send birthday cards, messages, and gifts
  • Plan holidays together – Skype during the opening of Christmas gifts, or arrange for a yearly reunion on Thanksgiving
  • Schedule calls – life does get in the way and people get busy. If you have to, schedule a weekly phone call, even just for a few minutes. Staying updated on your child’s life isn’t hard.
  • Be unpredictable – you don’t need a reason to text your kids that you love them. Ask how things are going or send a gift card for their favorite restaurant. Remind them that you support them in their ambitions, near and far.

Distance means nothing, especially when it comes to family. Soon, I’m sure all five of my children will be spread across the globe, and I could not be happier knowing they are pursuing their dreams. Although it will make me sad to not have everyone together every Christmas, I will enjoy taking full advantage of their hospitality as I travel to see all of them. The moments together will be even sweeter, and regardless of where we are, my kids will know that they always have us to come home to, location TBD.