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Wednesday 17 April 2019

Living With A Long Distance Family Relationship

I'm in my mid-30's. I have a mortgage, a husband, a profession, children and Tupperware. Nevertheless, there are times when I still just need my mum.  Those are the times when I realise how hard long distance relationships can really be, especially when it's family you're missing.

And I'll put my hands up here and admit it. Okay yes, as a parent, having grandparents around really is worth it's weight in childcare. Not just financially, but in allowing us to shrug off the roles of 'Mummy' and 'Daddy' to just be 'us' for an hour or two. I'm not denying the practical benefits of having family close by.

But let's not forget the bad days. The sad days. The 'I just want to chat over coffee' days. Sometimes Skype just doesn't cut it.

It's so easy to undervalue the cuppa at the kitchen table, an afternoon's retail therapy, the second opinion on that pair of shoes, from someone who saw you through the t-shirt and cycling short phase (shudder). That's the side of nineties fashion you don't see on the catwalk.

Sometimes all it takes is a touch on the arm or a real life smile to restore that safety blanket of confidence to it's rightful place against your cheek. Hugs are a bonus, providing a game-geek extra life, a magical power-up to tackle whatever challenge brought you to her door in the first place.

Or maybe it's advice you're searching for. And maybe it's only someone who's been through it all, weathered the storms and born the same emotional bruises who can give you the best advice.

Last night, I whispered into O's ear that I would always be here for him, a sentiment he interpreted as an expectation that Mummy would be following him through the school gates when he returns next Tuesday, permanently pinned to his side. Not quite, Son.

A phone or video call isn't the same as sitting next to a person, it can't be. But at least it's a chance to talk things through, catch up on or close out recent challenges, or simply just to compare recipes.

I hope that wherever my boys end up in the world, they know that I'll always be there for them. Not necessarily there there, not walking them through the front door to their workplace, but available. Any day, any time, only a phone call away.

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