Family Relocation & Lonely Holidays
The holidays can be an emotional time in our family. Three years ago, we relocated to South Dakota from Michigan, and it’s been a lonely journey. We moved here knowing that we had no family, no friends…but we had to escape a bad economy and Michigan and our first priority was financial stability. It was worth the sacrifices.
We miss our family. We miss our hometown. We miss living on Lake Michigan, the food, the community, our church. It just isn’t the same here in South Dakota and it probably never will be.
Over the past three years, we’ve talked more than once about relocating again. We want to be closer to our family in Michigan, we want to live in a more diversity city and we want our daughter to be exposed to Spanish daily. We’ve talked about the possibilities of both Chicago and San Antonio…each boasting a unique mix of cultural heritage and only a short drive from our families.
The more we think about it, the more it becomes a reality…we aren’t going to stay here. South Dakota is not for us and family is just too important to us to live this far away.
We ended up leaving Michigan just days after Christmas 2009. Hubby lost his job and there was no work in Michigan and after searching for months and living with family in a spare bedroom, we just couldn’t stay ignore the realities anymore. We wanted better for our daughter, and better wasn’t going to happen in Michigan.
Relocating to South Dakota
That meant hubby leaving us for two months to plan a life for us elsewhere. That two months after Christmas were difficult for all of us. I couldn’t be there to encourage my husband, he wasn’t there to hug me goodnight or kiss Lily and rock her to sleep. Those were difficult times and I wondered, with Lily being so young (she was just over 1 year old), would she forget her papi? Would she be nervous when she met him again?
I did my best to make sure that those questions didn’t become realities, and we looked at pictures and videos of daddy often to fill in the blanks. He called each day, and we both waited at the phone each night to hear his voice for those 10-15 minutes. It never felt like enough though, and luckily it only lasted two months before we were on our way to South Dakota.
Celebrating the Holidays Alone
Leaving Michigan behind has been especially hard, and I’ve tried to be sure that my daughter’s Christmases here in South Dakota are special and memorable, but it’s hard without family. Just like we hurt that we couldn’t be near papi, it hurts to have our family so far away. My daughter wants to see her cousins and hold them. She wants to pick them out a present and hand it to them herself, watching their faces light up with excitement. Although she doesn’t say it, I think she wants to be the center of attention too. She wants to visit grandma and have her special tickle time and enough hugs to make up for all the ones she’s missed.
I feel so bad about the holidays sometimes. We don’t have family…it’s just our little group of three. That’s fine and all, but sometimes you just need more than that. Sometimes you need that obnoxious house full of loud relatives to remind you of how much you have. Sometimes you miss laughing with them, hugging them, holding them close and even just smelling their scent in the air.
I miss my mom. I miss my nephews and nieces. I miss watching my daughter rolling around on the floor with her cousins. It’s just hard this time of year. I try not to think about it too much, but I think that our relocation plans for next year make it seem even more real…we want to go home.
© 2012, Chantilly Patiño. All rights reserved.