So coming to live in Spain and leaving grandchildren behind? Something many Grandparents struggle with and would not even think of doing – although be mindful you are leaving them with their parents and not totally alone! Of course we also know grandparent bonding is different and very special indeed.
I know it isn’t for everyone and people have good reason not to make the move but if your tempted to take the plunge then maybe hearing about how life is here without them may help? This is what early retirement in Spain means for us and how we cope without the grandchildren being down the road.
Maybe because we moved here before the grandchildren arrived, it helped, I don’t know but that’s food for thought! Quick get the ball rolling now!
May I also throw in – my daughter fell in love in UK and married a young man from down south so off she went to be with him a 6-hour drive by car! In fact, it’s so easy to get here from UK that when they were dating they both booked flights to San Javier and met here for the weekend as it was quicker than facing that Friday night car commute journey of at least 6 hours.
How can we keep contact?? There is a whole generation of grandparents here in Spain who are techno savvy. That means they can and share videos, photos, facetime, enjoy free whassapp and facebook calls with confidence. My daughter and I share videos and photos almost every day. We skype at weekends, at breakfast or suppertime or in fact whenever the moment takes us. We send them surprise little gifts of all sorts of things. My granddaughter thinks its cool that Grandma can do a snapchat from the beach! They think we are so much younger than we are because they see what we are doing and what fun we have and how in touch we are with all this – they adore us as we do them. They can’t wait to get in from school to speak to us while we are on the beach so we can show them the clear waters of the med.
When the Grandkids are sick?? Our granddaughter was poorly recently and I was at their house, by her side, within hours; taking the 20 min journey to San Javier, a 2-hour journey to London, including waiting time, took under that 6 hours it would have taken me from Merseyside to the south. I’m pleased to say she was fine, she had one of those many ongoing winter viruses’ that will last all winter. I remember those dreaded things and don’t regret leaving them behind.
When they visit us in Spain They come here on holiday and we max out on everything. They love the thought that grandma has a swimming pool and they can be up so late and don’t have to put so many layers of clothes on day after day. We swim in the sea at 9 o’clock at night, we BBQ at 11 o’clock, we sleep when we want to. We live outside and lounge around, giggle and chat for hours on end. We count the stars in the navy blue clear skies. We embrace the local fiestas and the eye opening way the locals indulge. The time we spend together is pure quality and we have so much fun, its irreplaceable as we all sparkle together under the blue skies. We encourage our children to go off for a treat night so we have our granddaughter for a whole 48 hours and we all love it, super bonding time! Those goodbye hugs at the airport are killers of course, but they stay within you for weeks until our next trip and we cherish, kiss and hold tight every time we see them.
We go to visit them as much as we want to and as often as we like. Flights are really still so cheap if you book in advance. We have just booked a return flight for 45euros and another for 66euros for Christmas. Talking about Christmas it’s so special telling the grandkids on Christmas eve ” we have just seen Santa fly past, he’s on the way to UK now, get to bed quick ” your children will love you for it! (Of course you are on your way on a cheap flight back to surprise them for Christmas!)
Our kids are truly very happy for us that we have so much to tell them about what we are doing, where we are going, they acknowledge our extended youth. Living here so close to one of the healthiest places in Europe on our doorstep, the excellent medical services, the sun, the fun and the air of calm, the long days, the superb diet and blue skies almost every day, why wouldn’t they be! The quality of life is Spain is a massive change to our wellbeing we feel superhuman! Spain is a massive country with so much to explore from the coastal areas of Orihuela Costa that have some of the best beaches in Europe, to the superb buzzing and exciting cities to the national parks. The cultural cathedrals of Murcia, the Roman Amphitheatres in Cartagena, are so impressive you will want to tell everyone about them and they are both under an hour travel time.
The unconditional love between us and our grandchildren never ever fades. Holding their little hands so tight at the airport is very lasting. As parents and Grandparents our heartfelt mission in life is to know that our children and grandchildren are happy, healthy and living life to completion. We gave our children wings to fly so they could fulfil their lives and explore. So now our children and grandchildren are humbled to see we have found new wings too. Life totally isn’t forever perfect and of course we miss family but contact is all manageable and workable. We are the sunshine grandparents! Spain is not the other end of the world and being a mainland there are so many busy airports and even the drive home is perfectly doable.
Was it the right decision for us? We know for us it was the best decision we made and from the moment my husband arrived in from his Sunday golf day out in the pouring rain, yet again, when he flung his wet gear in the house an odd ball escaped and bounced out, rolled down the laminate hall flooring he said, “right that’s it I’m not playing another game here in this weather, we are off” That started the ball rolling funny enough!
We loved finding our Spanish home, it was such an event in our lives but a very straight forward process because we found the right estate agent who was recommended, long standing and listened to us. We chose our home not them. They are now our friends!
Never look back- live, love and cherish where you are and why you are there.