A casual lunch, a birthday dinner and a visit to the park—these are the priceless moments my family and I have shared since my moving to Holiday Villa East so I could live near my children and grandchildren.
Regrettably, while living on the East Coast, I missed nearly all my Seattle grandchildren's birthdays, school, sport, extracurricular and special events. Growing up, and as my children grew up, grandparents were our biggest cheerleaders. They were the go-to folks who bought all the unsold Girl Scout cookies and came to EVERY, even remotely-related event.
Since my children left for college decades ago, I've yearned for a grandchildren-grandparent connection. It's been my dream; granted it's not a magnanimous dream like that of renowned civil rights activist, Martin Luther King. My dream, Joan's Dream, was to spend Mother's Day and my birthday each year with at least one of my children. By moving across coasts, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, from Baltimore to Santa Monica, my dream has come true.
I am celebrating 18 months at Holiday Villa East, a senior living community in midtown Santa Monica, California. I live minutes from the city's world-famous beaches, restaurants, shops and activities. When I open the sliding doors to my apartment, the ocean breeze fills my unit and generally keeps the temperatures moderate. The dream-fulfilling topping on this cake is that I have easy transportation to the home of my son Mark, daughter-in-law Lindsay, and grandchildren Oliver, 5, and Madeline, 2.
Since arriving at Holiday Villa East in February 2014, I have attended two years of endearing and entertaining birthday parties for Oliver and Madeline, two years of Oliver's amazing piano recital performances, and his heart-melting preschool graduation. Sharing in these grandchildren milestones is monumental after living across the country.
Importantly, in order to share holidays and special occasions as a family, we are able to coordinate Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle locations with my other two children. Santa Monica is conveniently located not far from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Happily, my son Brian and three grandchildren, Natasha, 17, Stella, 14, and Geoffrey, 10, visit two or more times a year. Likewise, my daughter Allison and her friend Randy visit from San Francisco on weekends and special occasions. I am blessed. Joan's Dream has come true.
Whether one moves across the coasts as I did, or across town, relocation is a huge, life-changing event. In late July, Joan's Journey will explore the realistic and unreasonable expectations of moving close to family, and a suggested success plan. In the Comment Section below, SeniorHomes.com and I invite you to share your relocation experiences with us. Until the next Joan's Journey, enjoy the trip day by day.
Joan London is a freelance medical and social service writer who specializes in topics on aging. London moved from Maryland to California to enjoy life in a senior living community and enhance her quality of life by living closer to her children and grandchildren.