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With work creating physical distance between parents and child, family relationships have undergone a change. Accepting reality with positivity might just be the solution.
We all have but one life and everyone wants to live it to the fullest. We desire to excel in our chosen vocation and work hard to make a mark in the world. Our passions, might not, at times take wings in the place we grew up or in our smaller home-towns. So we move to greener pastures. Jobs in government and corporate sectors too force more people to move to different cities than their home-towns.
If anybody can relate to long distance family relationships, it is definitely me. My parents, both of them doctors with the Uttar Pradesh State government were posted every few years to a new city within the state. At times, if the designated houses for doctors were available, we would shift inside the hospital campus but most times my father had to scout for rental accommodation in the city.
Every time we shifted my grandparents had to go back to their home in another city. We would visit them during our vacations or when our parents could jointly take leave from their jobs But from what I remember our family relationship was quite healthy. My grandparents were happy to spend few months with us and return to their home among friends.
I married a defence officer and we too get posted all over the country every two years from Srinagar to Thanjavur, from Jodhpur to Shillong. My parents stay in Pune and in-laws stay at Indore and we visit both set of parents once a year, as do they. At times in some defence bases we do not get house and have to spend months in temporary accommodation. Such arrangement allows us to have nothing more than a long distance parent-child relationship only.
Then again people sometimes move to different country altogether for a better opportunity but parents stay back in the country. Few of my cousins with software engineering background have made United States their home while their parents, my uncles and aunts, stay back here in India. The family relations are anything but strained. My aunt enjoys her evenings at temple and bonding with other women of her age in the housing society. She goes for about three months to her son’s place in Detroit and indulges her grandsons.
The elderly do not want to shift to a foreign land for want of company. To keep expenses within affordable limits, such families visit each other once in two-three years keeping the ties healthy and alive.
My sister, her in-laws and her co-sister though all live in the same city of Hyderabad, yet their homes happen to be diametrically opposite to each other to cut down on the travel time to different work areas.
The other day I happened to ask my sister about the whole arrangement of all of them staying in different houses. It made sense when she said that at least they were all in one city and could meet over the weekend or help each other out when the need arose.
These long distance parent-child relationships might not be ideal situations where elderly are concerned. But there is no denying, that such situations are on the rise and inevitable. Progress cannot be chained…
The work commitments and school schedules of kids cannot be dropped at the drop of a hat to travel to home-town for everyday need of ageing parents. The parents also cannot be expected to rush over and look after grandchildren on and off when the need arises.
However ruing and taking a decision of moving in together in an emotional outburst might not be the best thing to do….changing a job and city might sometimes backfire. Such decisions might end up in frustration if things do not work out.
Instead we should be happy that we stay in such times where the modern technology has provided the means to enable us to stay connected with our parents through cell phones, Skype chats and social media. Even the travelling time has considerably reduced due to network of air travel.
It is better to accept the changing times happily and connect with each other as often as one can. Someone has rightly said, “If you love someone, just set them free…”
Image source: generations of a family by Shutterstock.
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