When your family visits you in your new city

Even though I’m 1,000 miles away from home and could for all intents and purposes be completely here, my family back home in Chicago is still very important to me. I have weekly chats with my dad and have established a pretty consistent phone schedule with both my sister and my dad’s girlfriend—who is a wonderful combination of a friend, confidant, and my future self. Seriously. She IS me in 30 years and I couldn’t be happier about that.

I was so excited when my dad told me that he and his girlfriend were coming for a visit. I missed them terribly, and couldn’t wait to see them. I also wanted to show them all the wonderful things about Maine so that they could (hopefully) understand why I decided to move here.

Wiscasset, ME

I had a few different ideas of how things would go when they were here. My dad especially doesn’t like that I’m so far away, so naturally I prepared for worst-case scenarios like:

  • My dad dragging me back to Chicago kicking and screaming.
  • Everyone being in a bad mood and having a terrible time together.
  • Something in between those extremes.

Family time

Luckily nothing like that happened and we all had a great time together. I showed them a few of my favorite spots like The Portland Head Light, The Holy Donut (obviously), and Bramhall Pub. I also took them to a few places I knew my dad would like such as Len Libby Chocolatier in Scarborough and downtown Kennebunkport. We attended the Rockland Lobster Festival and The Goo Goo Dolls concert in Portland. We also spent a lot of time just hanging out in Portland and enjoying each other’s company. It was a wonderful couple of weeks with them, and I’m so glad the visit went as well as it did.

Goo Goo Dolls, Portland, ME

I knew it would be hard when they left, but I wasn’t expecting to fall apart as much as I did afterwards. I realized later that it was a combination of things that brought me to such an epic meltdown. Isn’t that always how it is? I missed my family, I was feeling insecure in my other relationships, and I was well into my 4th month here which is when things are no longer as new or exciting—it’s just day-to-day living. I also felt guilty for making these two wonderful people sad.

“This is my fault. They’re upset because of me.”

I know that I shouldn’t think that way. It’s good that I have such a great relationship with my dad and his girlfriend—that these people love me so much, but I still felt badly. After all if I had just stayed in Chicago they wouldn’t be upset—but I had to do this. I had to move to Maine and have this adventure.

Kennebunkport, ME

Though they may not totally get why I felt like I had to move, they love me enough to support it. I have no idea how long I’ll be in Maine, or if I’ll ever be living as close as my dad would like, but I know my relationship with him will not suffer because of it. And for the time being he can visit a pretty amazing place, and eat as much lobster as he wants.

What was it like the first time your family visited you in your new city? Did the visit go better or worse than you were expecting?

4 Comments

  1. Our first visit came 6 months after we moved, one of my sisters, her husband and three daughters. Took them to Becky’s, Lobster Shack, Portland Head, up to Freeport and spent time on East Prom where are our first apartment here was. We actually drove down with them to show them the Nubble and that’s where we separated. They headed south to PA and we drove back up to Portland. Many tears as we said goodbye. Thankfully over the past four years we’ve gotten visits from both my sisters, my brother and mother and a couple friends.

    But that moment of saying goodbye is always tough, because you get used to them being where you love and part of you wishes they could live there with you and experience all this Maine beauty.

    They all love it here when they visit so we know they’ll always be back at some point. We are very settled here in Maine now and don’t see us leaving for a very long time, if at all, so it’s nice the family likes the place you’ve chosen.

  2. I just experienced it as well … in reverse. My kids came to visit for a week with the grandkids. I wanted them to see what the Maine attraction is. We camped, trekked to Arcadia, went whale watching and spent the day at Playland Adventures in Brewer. Plenty of tears as they departed back to Massachusetts, New York and Ohio. But plenty of smiles as well. They now know why I chose Maine.

    • I’m so glad your kids and grandkids got to visit and that they enjoyed their time in Maine. It sounds like you have them the full Maine experience as well. It sounds like these kinds of visits are always bittersweet.

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