I live 3,000 miles away from my mother. It’s not by design; I just happened to marry a guy from L.A., and I happen to like L.A. better than New York, or D.C., or any of the other cities where people from the east coast go to live after they get out of school, and so, twelve years ago, I decided to move. At the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal. I could call my mom just as easily from L.A. as I could from New York, and if I wanted to go home for a weekend, or a holiday, I could get on a plane, pop a sleeping pill and be back in Philly before I knew it.


Of course, I wasn’t thinking about my future, unborn children when I made the decision to move to the other side of the country. I wasn’t thinking about how I might need the extra help that only one’s mother can provide. I wasn’t thinking about who would babysit if Michael and I ever went away for a weekend, or who would pick the kids up from school when Michael was out of town for work and I was in bed with my semi-annual case of strep throat. I wasn’t thinking about having to make matzoh balls for Passover by myself (honestly, don’t even ask). And God knows, I wasn’t thinking about what it would be like to fly across the country on a holiday weekend with two kids under the age of five.


But such is life, I guess; all of the choices we make affect our future lives, which is why I am boarding a plane with my kids in a few days and flying off to enjoy a long weekend in sunny, Boynton Beach, Florida. People from the east coast might go to New York or D.C. or Philadelphia after college, but when they retire, there is only one destination, and that is Florida (pronounced Flah-rida, if you want be authentic about it.) My mother moved there about seven years ago, into an “active seniors” community, where she had her choice of one of three, single-story home models with optional upgrades, complete with a clubhouse and its own lanai. If you don’t speak Florida, this means that she moved into a housing development for old people who are still agile enough to play tennis, but who eventually won’t be able to walk up any stairs, that things like built-in wall units, marble floors and recessed ceilings cost extra, that there is a central meeting place showcasing acts that nobody under the age of seventy has ever heard of, and that each house has it’s own screened-in patio so that you can sit outside without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes the size of frogs. My kids can’t wait.


Visiting grandchildren are a prized commodity in Florida; the more you have, the more jealous your old-but-still-agile friends are, and so once a year, I suck it up and schlep the kids halfway across the world so that my mother can at least place in the competition. Michael, of course, is “too busy at work” to accompany us, so I have the added bonus of getting to fly halfway across the world with two kids all by myself, which is always a thrill.



funny Risa, that's how i feel when I visit my parents in Flahida too!!!!!! love Joey


I remember visiting my grandmother in Florida when my oldest was 6 weeks old. I had to make the rounds in her adults only community. It was fun to have people gushing over my baby and I got some nice gifts. Of course, when I left, my grandmother gave me already addressed and stamped thank you cards to fill out for the gifts. I guess she didn't want her friends to know that I had no manners. Ahhh!

Mom to 3


Please Goddess,
save me from a the Florida migration when I grow old!
May I always be a person from the east coast who who goes to NYC after I finished college!
But let me visit L.A. once in awhile during the Winter.


LA- FLorida, this is nothing, my parents live in Germany and his in Puerto Rico. And she is the only grandchild on both sides. Who can beat that,(smile).

justice fergie

LOL. I just came back from visiting my mom in Flah-rida (without the kids, so I was excrutiatingly unpopular). I often desperately wish we lived closer so that the kids could have grandparents closeby...but we did exactly like you said and satyed in D.C. after school. Maybe one day we'll call the Sunshine State home.


My In-Laws also live in Boynton Beach in an over 50 community. We've made the trip for the last few years, but not this year. Thankfully, it's my in-laws so I've never made the trip alone.


I also just came back from a trip to Flah-rida with the 2 kids (also both under 5) traveling alone - husband had "work stuff" and while my kids are great travelers unless I have snacks, movies (thank goodness for Jet Blue) and lots of patients it's a disaster. We've done the trip 3 times alone and it never gets easier - you are just more prepared for the impending disasters. Best of luck


Risa Green -- Author.

No really......

It doesn't get better than that.