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Grandparenting Is All It’s Cracked Up To Be!
But Long-Distance Grandkids Require Skype, FaceTime, and Southwest Airlines
Everyone’s told me my whole life long how wonderful it is to have grandchildren. That it’s nothing like being a parent, unless you count the unconditional love part and the fact that you bring all your parenting experience into the role, and then some.
It’s really true about the blessed abundance of unfettered holding and rocking and spoiling with undivided attention and then handing little Theo back to baffled parents, who think you must have done something evil to their darling because all of a sudden the kid wants more of the same. A lot more, only there’s just not as much where that came from when the kiddos are back with their own parents.
Parents, after all, have lives, as well they should. Grandparents do, too, of course. It’s just that they’ve got their priorities straight when it comes to Precious Ava being Number One, to the point that she is not only allowed but also encouraged to interrupt any and every adult pursuit, to fulfill her own desires.
Parents think you must have overdosed their baby on sugar or FD&C Red Dye Number Two or whatever the food-additive contaminant of choice is these days. Otherwise, why would Sierra be demanding time and displaying the boundless energy, at the age of two months, of a child with ADHD?
All this is well and good and is part of the natural order of things, especially as they relate to relationships between the generations. The real problems don’t arise when grandparents behave as they are expected to (for all young parents anticipate that their elders will behave egregiously in these matters…..), but rather when grandparents are not on site locally to effectively create such a familial uproar.
Imagine, if you can, the grief in extended families when it becomes necessary for either the younger generation or the older to move far away, leaving the grandchildren impoverished of their grandparents’ over-indulgence and likewise of their parents’ indignation.
Heart-wrenching, isn’t it?
Well, luckily for grandparents of a certain age, technology now exists that, if used liberally, can almost make it seem like you’re seeing your grand on a daily basis. Between Skype and the smart-phone app called FaceTime, you can talk to your grand while they view your moving lips and funny faces, and they can do the same for you. You can tell that kid he’s the cutest and smartest thing you’ve ever seen, and he’ll believe you as if you were face-to-face, inches apart.
If that’s not enough (and it isn’t…..) there’s facebook, YouTube, and Flickr.
Your kids can create beautiful albums of photos for your grandchild’s milestones, such as her first week birthday, 8th day of life, 11th day, etc. For your latest fix, all you do is show up on Flickr or their chosen photo-sharing site and breathe in that sweet new baby smell, without even having to imagine the smell that might explode in the nappies.
On facebook, you’ll be delighted to read status updates on the baby’s first tooth, on how rambunctious Taylor is getting along in pre-school, and on Lacy’s percentage of height to weight as noted by her pediatrician.
And then there’s YouTube. If your kids are willing to record their progeny’s exploits, you will be overwhelmed to share in the first time Morgan says Mama or the first time Molly rolls over. It’s an experience that can only be had one other way, and that’s in person.
Which brings me to my final point. When you just can’t take it any more, and MUST see those children, don’t hesitate to log on to Southwest Airlines and book flights. SW won’t charge you if you have to change the flights, and as of last week, will even credit the difference to your SW account if a flight you’ve reserved has its price decreased at a later date.
Between a few technological goodies and plain old-fashioned flight, there’s no good reason you should be separated from your grandkids for longer than you can stand.
Remember, in spite of the unfounded complaints of your kids, it’s in everyone’s best interests for this love-fest to continue for many years to come.
Posted by Katy on 02/09/11
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