Family Parenting Random Thoughts

A whole new world

Father's Day picnics will be more challenging with Grandpa living in another state.

When I was a kid, we lived, at most, 20 minutes of either set of grandparents. I still have two living grandmothers and one living grandfather. We see them fairly regularly without having to hop on a plane or plan a week around it. We’ve been incredibly blessed to have my family, along with my husband’s parents relatively close. However, this week, we start a new chapter in our lives–one where my father-in-law (and soon my mother-in-law) live in another state.

It’s a new world today. We can’t just stop by on a Saturday evening for ice cream and I’m sure that birthday celebrations will be carefully orchestrated weekends rather than Sunday-night dinners. Holidays will, too, be different. No longer can we celebrate with everyone on one day. No dinner here and dessert there.

I’m not familiar with navigating these waters, a parent in another state. My husband seems mostly unfazed since the drive to see his dad will only be about four hours, but the interesting thing that concerns him is our children. See, he grew up with grandparents that lived several states away. And he feels like he barely knew them.

I don’t want that to happen for my kids. They have a pretty good relationship with my in-laws and my sisters-in-law, who most likely (though college students) will spend most of their free time at the new house in the new state. As I thought about it, I realized there is so much more to keep them connected.

  • Skype-We do this regularly with other members of the family, even my parents, who are just down the street. So my kids are familiar with this concept and will happily keep Grandpa chatting for a while–showing him new dance moves and tricks as well as art projects they have worked on.
  • Packages-We are the family of care packages. We love to mail things out and I even have a stock of flat-rate boxes at my house.
  • Writing-Whether it be e-mails or letters, my oldest daughter is starting to write and I’m sure she’ll have a blast sending notes to my in-laws about all of her experiences.

So while it seems like such a scary place to be–spreading out and separating–maybe it won’t be as hard as we imagine. Maybe we’ll appreciate the time we have together more. Maybe we’ll have lots of fun memories for spending more time together, when we are all in one place and not running off to our next task or event.

How do you keep in touch with far-off loved ones?