Shattering of my Heart

I just said goodbye to my mum. She has been visiting us for the past month from Australia. I see her about twice a year. Personally, this isn’t nearly enough because I can see how much joy her grandchildren bring into her life and how much my kids love her.
I hate having to say goodbye. It’s so heartbreaking. Truly one of the worst parts about living abroad. And it’s constant goodbyes. Each home visit, we have to eventually leave again. Each visiting relative or friend, has to leave us. I won’t even mention the constant moves of our expat friends!
Each time, my heart shatters a little more but I have to remain strong. Yes, I show that I’m sad but I don’t like to make a big deal out of it. I don’t want my children to sense that deep down inside, I am missing home so much and wish that this tormenting part of being an expat would end. I want to be a strong role model and teach my children (and remind myself) to enjoy our life now and live here. Jakarta is our home now. We are home. Seeing grandma twice a year is our normal. We are happy.
The ironic thing about my mum leaving is that our relationship is so much better when we are living in different countries! She also gets very overwhelmed by staying with 3 young kids. Her visits are intense. She doesn’t want to explore our city, she just wants to spend time with her grandchildren. I want her to feel at home and constantly welcomed, even if during certain times, this is difficult for me. I think most expats are fiercely independent (hence why we chose this life), so it’s difficult for me to be suddenly living with my mum again!
I always wonder, how much longer should we sustain this expat lifestyle? My mum is getting older each year and I honestly don’t want my children growing up, and living so far away from her. I worry about her health, her safety, her emotional well being. I worry that if something happens to her, I am too far away. And not having grandparents growing up myself, I truly want this gift for my children. I’ve always wanted my children to be surrounded by their extended family, so why am I doing this?!
The worst part right now is that as much as my heart is breaking, I know my mum’s is a million times worse. She’s left her world behind in Jakarta, crying on a plane, all by herself. And I can’t be there to give her a hug. I’ll miss you mum!

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