The year: 2018. The place: Costco. The call: our son.
“Mom, I know you’ve wanted to be a grandma for a long time. Well, guess what?”
A few weeks later he called again. “We’re having twins.” Identical twins. Girls. He had wanted a little sister since he was 7 years old. He waited 22 years for a little girl.
I was overwhelmed. A soon-to-be-grandma. Twin girls. Separated by distance, unable to travel.
The girls arrived spring of 2019. Today our outdoor adventurer, computer genius son is becoming an amazing husband and father. Together, he and his lovely wife are raising two precious little girls.
For months I’ve forced myself to think of anything but those little ones. I want to be a part of their life and yet know that is not possible–at least not in the way I grew up with regular visits to my grandparents. I tried desperately to fill this void with activities, immersing myself in the lives of other children, children’s crafts, children’s books, social media, and work.
I talked with a friend who said, “I don’t see where you’re going with all this.” Those words reverberated in my ears. Where was I going? What was I doing? I knew that the reason I was pouring into other children’s lives was to cover up the ache in my own heart.
What am I, a creative, budget-conscience Christian grandmother (and mother) to do?
Then it dawned on me. Now is the time to put all my energy into building a relationship with these little girls. There will be days I get to see them. Glorious days. In the space between, I must find ways to remind them they have a grandma–and a grandpa–who love them very much.
As a former homeschool mom, I have been lost–unable to find purpose–ever since our youngest graduated in 2017. Today he is married to a beautiful young woman. They are figuring out marriage and career in the midst of COVID-19. He frequently reminds me that they intend to move out of town as soon as their lease is up.
As I ponder this mandatory change in life, I’ve been looking over the growing-up years with our boys. They had a close relationship with my parents. They had no relationship with Dad’s parents (who live in Japan).
Perhaps God has placed me in this position “for such a time as this.” I’m looking forward to better understanding what it means to be a long-distance grandparent by the time our youngest son and his wife have their children. (And, I shall continue to pray they decide love for family is stronger than love for physical surroundings.)
Our firstborn, Jason, and his wife, Amanda, are climbing the corporate ladder 10 hours away from home. They are committed to their jobs and realize that starting a family is not a good idea for them. Instead, they have given us two granddogs. We love our granddogs. They are cute and fun to play with. But a dog can never take the place of a child.
The decision has been made. I will do what it takes to connect with my grandchildren, no matter what. I intend to document my journey into being a long-distance grand. To engrave into the hearts and minds of each of the boys–their wives–and children–that Grandma and Grandpa love them with all their hearts.
I am searching out creative inspiration for connecting long distance grandparents and grandchildren. I do believe that this will be the greatest adventure yet–how many ways can I say “I love you; I care for you” when I cannot hold those little granddaughters close to my heart; smell their little hair, hear their little cries, or guide their little spoons into their mouths when they eat.
Won’t you join me on this adventure?