One of the hardest things about moving to Atlanta has been being so far away from my parents. They live about 10 hours north of me and, up until a few years ago, we had never lived more than a few miles apart. It’s been a big adjustment. My Dad is no longer a simple phone call away if something breaks and I need his handyman skills or for me to call because I’m thinking about stopping by with my husband to watch the game. My Mom is no longer there for an impromptu shopping trip or visit to the nail salon. It’s been an adjustment and every day I realize how important it is to really cherish the relationships I have with them.
Make Time for a Phone Call
This was really easy for a while because my commute home from work was anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on Atlanta traffic. I would call my parents every day when I left work so I knew I was guaranteed at least 5 hours of phone time per week. I always felt ‘in the loop’ and it was great to connect every weekday. When we moved to our new apartment, and are now less than 10 minutes from my office, those weekday phone calls don’t happen as frequently. It’s become something I have to do much more consciously now but it is worth it.
Spend Vacations Together
A few weeks ago my parents took a few days of vacation time and traveled to Atlanta to spend a long weekend with us here in the city. In two weeks my husband and I are taking a few days off to travel up north to spend the 4th of July with them. They aren’t expensive trips, or long trips, but those days spent together are definitely the best trips!
Take a lot of Photos
Now that I don’t get to see them very often I try to capture every possible moment that I can. When they visited recently I took a lot of photos, even sneaking in a selfie with them in the background a few times. I keep thinking I need to compile some of the photos in to a photo book like the ones I always see on Shutterfly.
I talk about my parents a lot. I talk about them with my husband, with my friends, and even with my co-workers. I tell stories of trips we took when I was a little girl or silly things my Dad used to do to make me laugh. I share moments that my Dad was there for me during flat tires or other car troubles. I talk about bonding with my Mom over my first Homecoming dance. Telling the stories helps me stay connected.
Keep Sentimental Items
Most people who know me will tell you that I’m not a very sentimental person, and that’s true for the most part. I am however, very sentimental when it comes to my family. I don’t keep a lot of items that once belonged to family members but I do keep some things. My husband has a camera that once belonged to his grandfather. I have a cookbook that belonged to my great-grandmother and a quilt that belonged to my grandmother. I own 28 books that are part of a historical series I once read with my Dad. The covers are falling off and they look very aged but they help me hold on to a part of him.
- Do your parents live nearby? If not, how do you maintain a close relationship?