I wonder how many Grandmothers live a long distance from their grandchildren? I imagine far more than living a short drive away. How sad for both grandmother and grandchild. Though years apart in age, a grandmother has an impact and connection with her grandchildren like no other relationship. I call it the unconditional love connection.
My grandchildren, whom I call the ‘Grands’ live across America. From New York to the California coast.
I cannot smother them with kisses. Nor can I wipe away a tear. It was like this long before Covid and Elsewhere.
The situation is difficult because I am not close by to solve their immediate problems face to face. Or their immediate joys. I cannot go to Johnny Rocket’s like I used to. We would sit at the counter, order a burger, fries, and milkshake. I can no longer watch their tiny hand put a quarter in the mini jukebox!
I cannot be involved in their everyday lives, and I am unbearable sad about my set of circumstances.
WHAT CAN WE GRANDMOTHERS DO
My consolation is that I feel loved, and I know the Grands ‘get it’ that they are very much loved in return.
When my first grandson was born, I decided to play a consistent role and be a constant grandmother. I knew this because those are the gifts my grandmothers left me.
THE ONE TRUE GIFT YOU BESTOW ON YOUR GRANDS
It is not what you leave your Grands when you are dead ( material possessions) but what you leave them in their heads. Your strong values and life lessons.
When my first grand was born, the separation of miles was not an issue. In fact, did not enter my mind because my family lived a few blocks away. We lived in Honolulu, and close proximity was the norm.
Unfortunately, life plays all kinds of tricks. Widowhood, a move to Chicago, a new husband, daughters marrying. Then grands off to college all over the States and eventually to live independently.
Most of the experiences were wonderful on the one hand and sad on the other. I lost touch with the day-to-day togetherness with my grands. And they lost the same without their grandmother.
Naturally, I did despair, and I still do, but I have come to terms with reality. I do continue to be a proactive grandmother to my grandchildren from afar.
HOW WE STAY IN TOUCH
My favorite form of communication is texting. I am known for my emojis!!! I send emails, use the telephone (Sunday morning calls), and Zoom with a few. And occasionally send small gifts through the mail. It is my personal commitment.
Read my story here: Sentimental Gifts From a Grandmother’s Heart
We have vacationed with some of the Grands to London and Paris. And drove the road to Normandy to visit special sites along the way. We travel to their homes for a visit. September is in the books for New York. Next week, our Grands who live in Austin are coming for a visit and staying with us. I would like to fly to San Francisco to visit another Grand in the fall.
MY BLENDED FAMILY
There are close to 20 Grands in our blended family who I consider my family. I am Honey (my grandmother name) to them in every sense of the word. We have bonded.
I am proud of my accomplishments from afar with each Grand. My ambition is to establish loving and trusting relationships and pass on my mental gifts. To this end, I share through words and stories. My hope is that they will carry some of my teachings with them and one day pass them on to their children.
Tell your stories, and write and text, make the time to phone and Zoom and when you send a note or small gift by mail, seal it with a kiss in your red lipstick!!!
HOW I SAY NO TO MY GRANDS
When speaking to my Grands, I say no without uttering the word no because the word no sounds so foreboding. In my opinion, it immediately derails positivity in the most positive relationship. The feeling of unconditional love between a grandchild and grandmother.
I know that saying no is usually meant as an expression of love. You care.
I also understand the relationship between a grandchild and grandmother is magical and sacred.
Therefore, dear grandmother, tread gently, for this bond must always be nurtured and savored.
KEEP IT POSITIVE
Because the relationship is positive, we should deal with it positively. I have devised a simple formula.
When I know I want to step in, I relate a personal story of the same circumstance I had at their age. And, of course, the lesson I learned from my mistake!
I start with, “ I remember when I …” My grands listen and take it all in. They cannot believe I got into trouble. I tell them what I did, why I did it, my punishment, how I felt, and the ultimate outcome.
They listen intently because they can relate to me. They are not afraid or embarrassed to open up and share their feelings because Honey did the same thing.
Before you know it, we have quite an important back-and-forth conversation. They continue to ask me questions. This method has never failed me. And the conversation ends with a closer bond and, hopefully, a lesson learned.
When Grands are older, I use the same method of relatable storytelling. My method works with Grands of all ages, darling.
THERE ARE TIMES…
Some say the first word a child recognizes is the word no. I think puppies do too. Sad but true.
There are some extenuating circumstances. At times, I advise a grandmother to ‘just say no’ in some ugly out-of-the-box circumstances. She knows when should keep her silence and take the high road. It is the parent’s time to intervene.
I will never forget reading the following quote. “It has been documented that grandchildren who are not close to their grandmothers are not as happy as grandchildren who have that loving close relationship.”
Amen! Amen! I am smiling!!!
How do you stay connected with your grands? I’d love to hear from you! Join the conversation in the comments below.
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