This week I got to meet my newest granddaughter who was born June 5. Now I have much more empathy for long distance grandmas!
I only had 4 short days to bond with Sophia who lives an hour’s plane ride away. I held her every moment I could, soaking in her sweet baby breath and knowing she would look so different the next time I see her. I looked into her wide dark eyes and imagined that she was looking right back at me, the way my first granddaughter did the moment she came out of her mama’s womb.
As a hands-on grandma who’s totally gaga for her granddaughters, I need to feel that bond early and often in order to build the kind of grandma relationship I so crave.
I’ve been able to do that with my first two granddaughters who live a two-hour car ride away. I’ve made it a priority to see them at least twice a month for the past 11 years and the rewards have been priceless. They recently stayed at our house for 5 days and the fun was non-stop.
While they were visiting, their new cousin was born — increasing my joy exponentially. It also made me realize that now I have to spread my Baba-love (My first granddaughter named me “Baba.”) among three … and at a greater distance.
I suppose my long-distance is short compared to one of my GaGa friends who flies to France twice a year to visit her two grandsons. But for me even a short plane ride feels too far.
What it’s teaching me is empathy for long distance grandmas. My own mother faced that challenge 44 years ago when my husband and I moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Southern California. I was 7 months pregnant with my parents’ first grandchild and they were devastated. At the time I had no idea how hard it must have been for them. Now I totally get it. Funny how history repeats itself.
As a paternal grandma this time, the experience is different. Fortunately, I have a very close relationship with my D-I-L, which makes my goal of bonding much easier. Many of my GaGa friends who are paternal grandmas don’t have it so lucky. They’ve have D-I-L challenges.
My challenge is the distance. I’m going to have to get lessons from my long-distance GaGa friend, Cheri who from day one has had a standing Skype date with her two grandsons in Minnesota. She made the front page of the Palo Alto Weekly five years ago when she first started iChats with her grandson. I’m also re-reading my post on tips for long distance grandmas.
I’d sure appreciate your best long-distance tips on how you stay connected to your grandchildren. I know it would help all of us hands-on grandmas who are gaga for our grandkids.