Sometimes I wonder why I am so resistant to longer visits with my children [both of whom live in other cities]. I consider myself the master of the Blitzkrieg visit--in on a Saturday morning; out by Sunday evening, with lots of hugs, kisses, and grabbed conversations in between. You're gone before anyone gets on anyone's nerves.
But now, Alpha Daughter has moved to another country for a year--6 time zones away. I'll be going on my first visit there in a few weeks but clearly, the pure Blitzkrieg is out of the question. Nonetheless, I have a variation in mind: in for 2 or 3 days, off to another country to travel and tour, back for another 2 or 3 day visit, then home. I've shared the plan with my daughter--who was home with her child for a two-week visit--and she raised questions about it. Why, she asked, do I prefer the short visit? After all, she pointed out, a longer one--and we have just been through this very long one successfully [no one got seriously disagreeable]--gives you a chance to get pulled into the daily rhythms of her family, to experience her child in a more personal way and gain greater understanding of their lives, as well as give you more opportunities for meaningful conversations.
What she says was certainly true of our two-week visit. So I think seriously about my short-visit preference. The only honest answer I can come up with is that my mother used to come to visit me for three weeks at a time. She was intrusive and tried to impose her will on everything from how the house should be cleaned to how my children should be disciplined. How I hated those visits. I had a backache, stomach pain and hives by the time she left. The only plus side to the visits was the euphoria of relief when she left. So I've gone in the opposite direction. But my daughter's question makes me wonder if I'm so busy NOT being my mother that I'm giving up on some of the joys of parenting adult children and getting to know my grandchildren for better and occasionally worse.