Grandparents Day 2017
It's National Grandparents Day. I missed last year, being a new grandma, I didn't know about it. But, now, this year, I have TWO grandchildren and it's time to get serious. I am taking a blog post I wrote December 2016, and updating it to include my new grandson, Ishaan Curren Sharma. Elodie Curren Hunt is doing just fine. But my concern is being so far away from these two sweethearts that I may not be able to have a real relationship with them. Here's my take on being a Faraway Grandma - five types of grandmas I seem to be. I welcome your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
How to Cope with Being a Faraway Grandma
My grandchildren are six hundred miles away. Elodie is now a year old and Ishaan is 5 months. They are showing real personality. I have discovered five grandmas I am.
My daughter and her husband have wonderful jobs, excellent health care, a coop they own and they love, love, love New York. Also the daycare they have found is made in heaven.
One faraway grandma says, “As long as they are well and happy, it doesn't matter where they are in the world.” I agree when I’m not pining for a glimpse of their faces.
Another says, “It's very hard not to do the guilt trip thing but yes, you have to accept that they are happy and successful and making something of their lives."
I wish I were closer and could even help out with daycare, but I am lucky to be able to visit at least twice a year. They tend to be special times because we all try harder to make up for lost time. In fact, I think we are sometimes closer because of the distance.
Wanting to hold themr
Wanting to look into their eyes
Wanting to play games, sing songs
Wanting to watch Sesame Street - I saw Big Bird the other day and burst into tears!
Wanting to watch Winnie the Pooh Christmas
Wanting to wipe away their tears
Wanting to see them smile
Wanting to feel their bones. Are they all there?
I sometimes pull all the photos up and put them in a row to see how they is progressing. It helps.
What did long-distance grandparents do before Face Time, e-mail, texting, and Facebook? I can’t imagine. If I don’t get a snapshot on Facebook at least once a week, I fall into depression. Thier smiles makes the rest of Facebook boring. I’ve found I like videos as I can play them more than once. Texting fills in the gaps of what everyone is doing. And Face Time, though challenging for me, works for live action. I do enjoy using Face Time and Facebook. There’s something so immediate about keeping in touch this way.
After the holidays, I will look into Skype for my computer so I can have a larger view of things.
The emotional aspects of separation are not, however, so easily remedied. Face Time does not include hugs. Videos are one sided. Texts and photos are lovely but again, they are not being there. I sometimes feel sad and lonely. I am learning to manage my feelings of sadness by building memories with the techie options we have.
Visits are my favorite. Christmas is the best. We have a pattern going now. I arrive the night before the scheduled holiday, stay four days through Christmas Day plus one. We do Christmas Eve with one daughter and Christmas Day with the other.
Christmas Day is sometimes spent in Connecticut with my son-in-law’s family. Then a daughter day to do brunch, shop walk around Brooklyn, almost always to bookstores.
My children have very busy lives, working in Manhattan at high stress jobs and living in Brooklyn where the commute each day can be two hours. They don’t need any added stress so I often plan carefully ahead of time to physically to be the least burden to the busy households and mentally to be the best grandma I can in the time we have. I try to conceal my desire to move in.
Get a Life Grandma
I have found obsessing over my grandchildren causes me to lose time on my work and lose interest in my life. I have made a new year’s resolution to rev up my own life. I will pursue my writing and women’s groups as well as develop new friendships. I might even start a grandma club.
I think I'll call it Faraway Grandmas United.
If you have wise suggestions or comments for faraway grandmas, please do include them in the comments below.