Moving to be near grandchildren?

The Dilemma:   Our 39-year-old daughter and her husband had a much- hoped-and-tried-for child last year. They live 150 miles from us, so we have only limited contact with our granddaughter. Our son is 29, in a relationship and lives not far from us. He says they don’t want children. My other daughter is 32, lives locally, and has been single all her adult life, but would like to find a partner and start a family. We see both these children regularly. Our fourth child is married, lives in Australia and will stay there. Recently, our eldest daughter asked us to move near them so that we could play an active role in our grandchild’s life. We are in our early 60s, retired, and could easily move financially. We would love to play a big part in our grandchild’s life, but it would take us away from the others, who might give us grandchildren one day. Should we live our lives in the here and now or wait for what might or might never be?

You’re an all-or-nothing kind of guy, aren’t you? If you’re wondering how I know you’re a man, you’re pragmatic, detailed and entirely unemotional approach to your dilemma is a dead giveaway. I’m sensing nuance is not your thing, but embracing a degree of flexibility might actually be your best option in this scenario.

Before we get specific, may I say a quick “Hallelujah” for the grandparents of this country and beyond. Across the nation and across the globe, the lives of many millions of working men and women are improved and their children’s lives enriched by the selfless dedication and commitment of grandparents.

Perfect grandparents eager to do your duty and torn between the grandchild you now have and the ones who may arrive in the future… Does it have to be such an all-or-nothing choice? You say you are nimble and portable, your ties being mainly to your children, near and far-flung. Why not make a virtue of your no-ties retirement and set out on an adventure that isn’t stamped in stone? How about doing some creative thinking? One thought would be to rent out your current home, use the income to pay for somewhere close to your granddaughter and try out the location and the hands-on grandparenting experience without committing forever?

I’m also not sure, despite your clearly magnanimous impulses, that the rest of your lives should be entirely focused on your grandchildren. Living vicariously through our grown-up children is on a par with abandoning them in adulthood – two extremes of a situation that calls for compromise.

With time on your hands and money to support your ambitions, there are many things you and your wife could be doing – learning new skills, discovering new passions and setting yourselves new challenges. Consider all your options, not just the ones involving your kids’ procreation plans.

Your motivation is admirable and your commitment to your children exemplary, but your plan for the next half of your life could do with more spice. After all, your ability to enrich the lives of your grandchildren will depend partly on how full your own lives are.

via Should I move nearer my grandchild but away from my grownup children? | Mariella Frostrup | Life and style | The Observer.

so about marriage…

I noticed today that I feel so much different now about marriage since I swore off of it a couple of years ago.

Out of some odd curiosity I looked at all the WordPress blogs under the category and noticed that a lot of them had some sort of religious reference, for one thing.  Otherwise they fell into categories of celebrating how long they had endured in that condition, or went on to list ways to mend the marriage or make it better.

I have an odd sense of humor perhaps, but it made me think of someone talking about their Cadillac and how it was the best car in the world and how it had changed their lives, but you really needed to psyche yourself up to drive it and be careful you don’t do certain things or it will break down and the repairs would be expensive.

In short, it reinforced the idea that marriage isn’t for everyone, and those that it is for now seem a bit off to me.

But I say that in a nice way, and don’t intend any disparagement to anyone that is married or wants to be married.  A couple of my kids are married, most of my adult relatives are married, and I wish them all the best.  And I was married – 3 times for 38 years married.  So perhaps I should consider that I’m just as much “a bit off” as they are in that respect.

I haven’t been able to define it to myself precisely, but living in a committed relationship without marriage, as I am now, is distinguishably different.  And I wish there were as many blogs about being unmarried together as there are for the married.  Maybe it’s just that there are fewer issues for the unmarried?  Maybe it’s more like owning a Toyota Prius that never has problems and gets great gas mileage, which helps you overlook the fact that the navigation system sends you to a completely wrong place once in awhile?

So I guess my point is, if you’re living unmarried to someone, write a blog.  It might give married people something else to blog about.

The Witness


“The existential human condition is such a tragic state, one must either laugh or cry, but one cannot remain neutral. One must feel compassion for all of us weak, deluded humans.”

Originally posted on Dharmasar:

Why do we crave—to the point where it causes physical stress—a witness? Why do we want to walk side-by-side with another person, preferably one perceived as an equal partner, as an intimate witness to our lives, twenty-four hours a day? We don’t want to be alone—isolation has been shown to be emotionally and physically damaging—we want a sympathetic witness: an impartial but understanding reflection of our view.

It’s almost like we want an external conscience—a breathing, walking, friendly, supportive, even sexual presence. I see this craving in myself and in others, and I see how hard it drives us, often to outrageous lengths. Look at people who become stars. How hard they work just to ensure they always have interested companions!

I think we are deeply insecure about our reality. “Do I really exist? Do I exist the way I see myself, or is that just something I’m creating?” Well…

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Boomer Sex: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Originally posted on Geriotica: Seniors, Aging & Elder Sex:

Happy Spring!

After a particularly brutal winter here in garden zone 5, I’m happy to see snowdrops, spring bulbs showing their tips, and other evidence that the earth’s waking up. I’m ready to renew and replenish mind, body and spirit. Clean out the dreck winter left behind and get off to a fresh start. And because Geriotica is about senior sex (granny sex, mature sex, elder sex–pick your term of choice), I’m ready to welcome spring as a time for sexual awakening or reawakening.

Is your bedroom garden ready for some new action–or any action at all? If so, this might be your season for a libido makeover. What’s that? Arrive at your own answers by asking these questions (feel free to add to the list):

1. How long since you and your partner showered or bathed together?
2. When’s the last time you experimented with a sex toy?

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Creating a Working Marriage

Originally posted on The Anjana Network:

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Call me a hopeless romantic or an endless fool, but I never imagined myself without a partner which unfortunately has caused me to make several very poor choices. I am on my fourth marriage. I met my current and last husband in 2004 and married him in 2007. He’s taught me more about my wrong view of marriage by being the kind of husband I need, more than what I learned from the bookshelves of the many self-help books on how to make a marriage work.  I’ve found several differences between my current relationship and  my previous marriages.

Just because someone says “I love you” doesn’t mean they love you the way you need to be loved, or know how to love you in a sustaining way. Love doesn’t take away from who you are, it’s an addition to your very being. It allows you to bloom…

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Getting ready for your girlfriend to move in?

OK guys, I just confirmed some advice I read online.  If your girlfriend is moving in with you, hire a PROFESSIONAL cleaning service to get it all ship-shape before she arrives.

Other items gleaned from online:

  • make space for her and her stuff. clean everything, buy some flowers and make dinner.
  • Clean your house. Really well. Then clean the bathroom again. :)
  • Flowers are nice. If there is any sort of art she likes, buy it, frame it, and hang it. Or do that with a photograph she loves.
  • Hire a maid to really, really, really clean. And then make sure there is plenty of room in the bathroom for her toiletries, which will take up 5 times more space than you think they should.
  • go pillow shopping together. Your personal bed will now become your-the-two-of-you’s bed and a way to say “hey this is part yours now” is to make sure she has her own taste in pillows.
  • First of all, dedicate some private space. Even a drawer or half a closet that she can have to herself is good for making things feel homey.
  • If your domicile is stuffed to the gills with your items, consider donating what you don’t need anymore, and clearing space, and thinking about what sort of storage she’ll need.
  • Clean towels. You can never have enough. Trust me on this.

  • Clean the apartment. Make sure she has her fair share of drawers and bookshelf space. Clean the apartment some more. Make her a copy of the key.
  • She’s not living with you, you’re living together so make things as equal as possible. Also make sure you keep open communication about mess and cleaning. Even the most sane people get freaked out by this stuff so make sure it’s all talkable about. Good luck!
  • Clean. If you aren’t good at serious, deep cleaning, pay a service to come and do a one-time top to bottom deep cleaning of the apartment. Have that place sparkling when she arrives. Floors, counters, every inch of the bathroom, all linens cleaned, everything.
  • If you don’t have a bathroom trashcan (with a lid, ideally), buy one.
  • In the bathroom, make sure that there is lots of space in the shower, near the sink, and in a drawer for her — even the most granola of hippies will have a preferred brand of shampoo, a toothbrush, and some “girl products” that she shouldn’t need to keep in her suitcase. Put out new bars of soap (or full soap dispensers, if you use the liquid stuff) by the sink, in the shower, etc.
  • If you can easily afford it, buying new sheets, towels, and pillowcases is a nice touch, but hardly mandatory unless your current ones are stained and discolored.
  • Give her lots of closet and drawer space in the bedroom; a night-table for her is a nice touch, too.
  • Make sure there is room in the kitchen for whatever food products she likes to have on hand. If you know what she likes, having her favorite breakfast cereal and so on already in the kitchen when she arrives is a really nice touch.
  • Have keys ready for her when she arrives (nothing makes a place feel less like yours than if you have to wait for someone to let you in every day). Help get her a library card, or bus pass, or whatever she needs to have access to cool stuff in your town.
  • If she’s not local, make an extra effort in the first week to introduce her to some of your friends, so she at least will have met a few people — moving far away to be with a SO can be really isolating and lonely.
  • If getting there will be a long and exhausting trip, have something nice but low-key ready for her when she arrives — dinner reservations, or a bottle of her favorite wine, or whatever she might like. If getting there will be a really brutal trip, or if she has just finished a tough time where she is coming from, make reservations (and arrange to pay) for her to get a massage/spa day/luxurious treat on the third or so day after she arrives (the second day she will probably still be wiped out; by the third day she will hopefully be recuperated and ready to enjoy the treat).
  • Get used to referring to it as “our home” rather than “my home”. Start now.
  • Basically, try and look at your place with outside eyes, and make the changes to it that will make it yours plural rather than yours singular. Have a little wrapped up gift basket or something for when she walks in the door, with house keys, some treats, and a gift certificate to a massage/spa, plus some little present that will make her smile.
  • Whatever you do, make sure the toilet seat is NOT up!

  • Have the second key ready. No excuse. This is a small symbol with big meaning. Test it first too. Sometimes copies are a bit off, and require a little fidgeting. Either tell the landlord/key copier it’s not good enough, or give her the good key, and keep the fidgety one.
  • Those wine corks that you have sitting around until you get to your next project? Extra clothes, unfinished furniture? Anything that you’ve been meaning to get around to, get rid of it. Freecycle, goodwill, or chuck it.
  • Buy her favorite foodstuffs. For example, when my partner comes home after a long absence I stock up on his favorite cola and 2% milk, neither of which I drink. It is a really nice gesture, as nice as flowers, to know that they thought ahead to make sure you’d have the right kind of milk for your coffee/cereal.
  • Make room for her. Especially lots of room for her girly stuff in the bathroom.
  • Get a female friend to inspect the house to catch anything you missed.
  • clean all the crap out of the fridge & stock it with plenty of tasty, fresh food. preferably things she likes. if you don’t know what she likes, just remember that yogurt is the official food of women, so buy up on dozens of different flavours.
  • Hire a maid to really, really, really clean before she arrives, and have the maid keep cleaning once a week. Your girlfriend is not moving in clean up after you. If you’re in the habit of leaving your dirty laundry on the bathroom floor, stop. Also, get in the habit of making the bed, if you aren’t already.