Today’s reality is that families don’t live near each other. Well, some families are blessed by being close – but more and more families are dealing with long distance relationships, particularly grand-parents and grand-kids.
I’m among the blessed – my grand-kids (2 so far – always routing for more of course) live relatively near by – a 30 minute drive. So we can get together for dinner and a home movie – even grab them for a ‘grannie’ weekend, without having to make serious arrangements. But not all families are so blessed, nor all kids so willing to share.
My friend the Intrepid Traveler has 6 grand-kids, 2 of whom live near by but seldom visit, 2 of which live about 40 minutes from her house but she sees a lot and has a close relationship with – and 2 of which live in Tiawan. That’s 12,000 miles from her home. So spending quantity or quality time with them is near to impossible. That’s a large part of the reason we’re in Korea. It was easy for her kids and grand-kids to get to, and not insanely expensive for us. Plus we were able to score timeshare weeks at the Kensington Beach Resort. So we’ve spent the last 10 days living next door to her kids, and since they are not ‘at home’ either, they have had no distractions – no work, no other friends – just us, the kids, the grand-kids.
So – quality time to the max.
Is 2 weeks enough time to really get to know your kids and grand-kids? Well, it can’t hurt of course. And it’s a ton better than nothing. For the Intrepid Traveler – it’s meant time for conversations with her son and daughter-in-law. Conversations that don’t get cut short by other friends calling, TV blaring, or the needs of husbands. Instead our focus has been on the kids – helping them color in pictures, cook, play in the playground or even just sit on the beach. It’s been amazing.
So why am I muttering? Well – as more families are separated by significant distance, the issue is – who makes the move to get together. I’m of the opinion that the responsibility – at least during the hardest child rearing years – is on the grand-parent. If you want quality time with your grand-kids – you need to make it a priority – or it won’t happen. It’s too much to expect kids to break their routine and drag themselves to you – so you have to go to them. It’s seriously nice of course that the kids of the Intrepid Traveler were willing to meet us part way – and more importantly – take 2 whole weeks off work to just relax with grannie.
Now I know all the excuses – I’m too busy, I have a job, the kids don’t like the way I treat their kids, the kids are worried I’ll spoil the grand-kids, my daughter (or daughter-in-law) doesn’t make me feel welcome. But these are excuses, not reasons. Anything can/should be worked out if it makes lives better for the kids – right?
Here’s another thought – what do the Grand-kids think? My daughter is just turning 30 so I asked her what her memories of her grand-mother (my mother) were. We lived 1000 miles apart – so time together was determined by us committing to visiting them rather than they visiting us. To my surprise – my daughters recollections were extremely strong and very positive. Granted we tried to make sure that my kids got time with their grand-parents – but we were rarely able to spend 2 weeks at a stretch together – even a week was a long time. So clearly it’s more about repetition in my daughter’s case.
An issue – there is only a few years when Grand-kids are even willing to spend that kind of time doing ‘nothing’. Once they hit age 13 – all bets are off on spending time with grannies. So – do it now – no one has ever been sorry they spent too much time getting to know their kids and grand-kids.
My questions to you – my readers – One – how far do you live from your parents/grand-parents/grand-kids. Two – what are your memories of your grand parents? and Three – do you try to get your kids together with your parents – or if you are a grand parent – do you try to get to spend time with your grand kids? Or – if you are the kid – have you called/talked/chatted with your grand-parents lately?
My challenge to you – In the next 12 months – get some quality time with your grand kids/grand-parents – and comment to me about it!
Signing off to spend more time with the grand-kids – The Soup lady and the Intrepid Traveler.