This paper is an ethnographic exploration of a seldom-dlsciissed 'micro' dimension of transnational studies, the practices of long-distance family reUtions and aged care. The importance of time as a key variable in transnational research is demonstrated through comparisons of the care exchanges of three cohorts of Italian migrants in Australia and their kin in Italy. A focus on 'transnationalisin from below, the more quotidian and domestic features of transmigrant experience, highlights the importance of considering the role of homeland kin and communities in discussions of migration. The analysis of transnational care-giving practices illustrates that migrancy is sometimes triggered by the need to give or receive care rather than the more commonly assumed 'rational' economic motivations. Transnational lives are thus shaped by the 'economies of kinship, which develop across changing state ('macro'), community ('meso') and family migration ('micro') histories, including, in particular, culturally com tructcd notions of 'ideal' family rclations and obligations, as well as notions of 'succesful' migration and 'licence to leave'.