My family lives mostly on the West Coast, and I live in the East. Although my Grandpa has been sick for a few years, he has taken a turn for a worse. I don’t want to go into details other than to say that he’s reached a point where family members are flying out to visit him this week.
When my dad told me about his travel plans, my first thought was about my schedule. Then my stomach sank. I was so incredibly selfish and guilty over asking myself “when would be the most convenient,” other than dropping everything and saying “Yes, I’ll be there.” Is this terrible of me? I don’t know. But it feels terrible.
I am flying out to visit. I leave Friday evening and return on a redeye Sunday night to Monday morning. Mr. Beez and Baby Beez aren’t coming with me. I would love for Grandpa to get to hear Baby Beez giggle and kiss her chubby cheeks, but flying with her right now is a complete nightmare. I can’t handle the stress of a 48 hour cross-country turnaround trip, on top of five plus hours of nonstop screaming, flailing toddler. I just can’t do it. And for that I feel selfish, too.
I moved from Lancaster, CA to Pittsburgh, PA when I was 17 years old to attend college. I was a kid. I was eager to be independent. I wanted to be somewhere new and exciting and different. A few times I considered returning back to Southern California, but as easy as it is to live in Pittsburgh, it’s difficult to live in Los Angeles. I have limited professional contacts in Los Angeles, but many in Pittsburgh. There’s no way my husband and I could afford to buy a house in Los Angeles, but housing is affordable in Pittsburgh. My husband’s family lives in Pittsburgh. We decided to stay here. And for that decision, I feel selfish, too. I haven’t been able to drive my Grandpa to his doctor appointments, or make dinner for them, or even just give my Grandma a hug when she’s feeling stressed. I understand now why people move back to their hometowns after college. I didn’t. And for that, I feel like I’ve abandoned my grandparents.
I do my best to send letters from time to time, and send pictures, and call. My Grandpa’s hearing has been gone for so long that I can’t talk to him on the phone, I can only talk to my Grandma and ask her to relay messages for me. I’ve visited them a handful of times over the last few years, and have gotten to talk to him personally then, but those times have been few and far between. I’m trying to make the best I can out of the situation. I’ll be taking several videos of Baby Beez over the next few days, and hopefully Grandpa will be able to see them on my computer.