How to Be a Better Absentee Mother & Grandmother During COVID-19
We are nearing the crossroad. Last March, almost six months ago, COVID-19 thrust its ugly head into every household on the planet known as, Elsewhere. It has caused different degrees of suffering coupled with severe anxiety on the entire population of the world. The complexity of the virus and its unknowns has caused our scientists, doctors, and political leaders to make unintentional errors. We, as a people, are experiencing a multitude of daily fears. Our lives are suddenly consumed with our health, our personal safety, economic worries, and social and family isolation.
COVID- 19 has given most of us cause to self-reflect on our past and possibly make positive changes in our futures. We certainly have had the time! I know many of you have pursued a new hobby, started home careers, disciplined yourselves to eat a healthy diet, and persisted in your daily exercise routine. Some of you even remodeled homes and planted gardens. All positive.
COVID-19 has broadened our emotional outreach; our prospectives about our lives and those who we care about and love. Self-Isolation has given us alone time to think about our attitudes and behavior. Some of us have developed newfound strength; others of you pushed your creative side and I think all of us have reflected on our role as wives, significant others, mothers, grandmothers, and friends. I am hopeful that most of us will come out of this tragedy stronger, wiser, hopeful, and grateful.
Some Positives In Life During COVID-19
My family has so far been very fortunate. We are all healthy and productive. Of course, we have been touched by COVID, too. Fear, self-isolation, graduations, and school missed as well as other family celebrations and on and on. We are lucky and we all are grateful.
As for myself, I have taken this ‘time out’ in Elsewhere to stay well informed. I am more in touch with my inner self and I feel a sense of self-enrichment. I continue to move in a positive direction while understanding that life plays all kinds of tricks. As well, I feel emotionally grounded and stronger from the ordeals I have witnessed and listened to and I do take the time of out of my day when I come upon an important lesson to email my children and grandchildren.
My Role as a Grandmother
Today I am thinking about my role as Honey Good, the grandmother. From my heart, I can tell you I love all our Grands. I have seven natural grandchildren (one great-granddaughter, Leia). My Ultimate Concierge has eight (one great-grandson, AJ). A few of our Grands are married and their spouses are our Grands, too. That adds two more to the mix. In the past, I acknowledged one of my son-in-laws five children and their wives but no longer. So, at this time we have a combined family of grandchildren, 17 strong. Though some of these children are not my natural Grands, they are ‘mine’ and I love each of them very much. They have earned my love and respect and I pray I have earned theirs.
Our Grands moved away from us with their parents. It is the modern-world syndrome and not only do grandparent’s suffer, but so do our adult children and of course, our Grands. We are a scattered generation.
My grown children occasionally chastise me during normal times with comments that I feel are unfair. Yet I ask myself, “Can I do more?” And now with COVID-19, I cannot attend my grandson’s Jack’s birthday in Arizona and could not attend AJ’s first birthday in Austin, Texas because we decided not to fly.
I recall my daughter Jenny saying years back, “Mom, there is a house next door to ours for sale, please ask Papa to buy it so we can live next door to each other.” OMG, darling, that would have been a dream come true for me but at that time in my life, unrealistic.
Words I Often Hear
I have often heard…
“Mom, why don’t you come and visit us more often? We miss you.”
“Mom, your life is so busy you have no time to visit.”
“Mom, you have time to travel far and wide but not enough time to visit as often as other grandparents.”
“Honey, I miss you. I love you.”
“Honey, I love it when we shop together. You are so much fun.”
“Honey, I accidentally dropped my computer and shattered the glass. I don’t want to tell my parents. Will you help me?”
When I hear these words I shake my head, feeling sad. And then reality hits me and I think, but never say to my children:
“If you miss me and need me, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LEAVE ME! I DIDN’T MOVE AWAY. YOU DID!
I know many absentee grandmothers feel as I do. We are saddened that society has changed from the golden days when we all lived near family. We wish we could hop in our cars; pick up our Grands from school, help them with their homework, or take them for a Dairy Queen cone. We want to hug them, we want to look at them and we want to be hugged back. But we cannot! It is a scattered generation.
What is interesting is that if you’re lucky grandmothers and moms who live close to your families, you are now experiencing what we feel as absentee moms and grandmas. I hope you thank your lucky stars and feel grateful and thankful for this blessing.
A Constant Question
The question I ask myself time and time again, as an absentee grandmother because of location is:
“Am I doing all that I can to keep up a loving relationship with my children, my daughter-in-law, and my Grands?” If I am, so be it, because I cannot change our living conditions. If I am not, I have to do something about it. And so should you, darling.
The cold fact is, I know no matter how often I am with my Grands, the distance creates a sense of loss and sadness for the family. For you, too, I am sure. After all, after our Grands’ parents, we are our Grands’ next security blanket. They feel and know we are unconditional love.
I don’t want you to feel sad, and I don’t want to feel sad either, so here are a few positive thoughts that will brighten all absentee moms and grandmothers’ day.
Make Peace with Your Situation. There is a Silver Lining!
Wrongdoing: You will never have the problem of feeling guilty turning your daughter or daughter-in-law down when she asks you to babysit at the last minute!
Culpability: You will never be blamed for intruding in your children’s and Grands’ lives.
My grandchildren don’t take me for granted: My visits are an event. I become their emotional and gift-bearing tooth fairy. We do special things. Have special talks. I take them shopping for that 1 special present.
My life is diversified: I have my own full life and I spend ‘concentrated time’ with my Grands.
My children don’t take me for granted: They appreciate me. They are happy to see me. They love me.
COVID-19 has been the messenger. Why? Because it has given me the time to really consider the whole picture.
I ask myself, “How would I react if I got an announcement our entire family was moving to Chicago? I would bring out the band, darling! Yes, I would bring out the band.”
And so would you, of that I am sure.
How do you stay connected with your Grands? Let’s Chat! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram! Or leave a comment below!
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