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Long distance grandparenting

(85 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 14-Jun-12 10:24:37

Janice Bhend's sons moved to the US - and her grandchildren all live thousands of miles away. How to cope with the constant goodbyes and how to be a good gran at such a distance? Read more in our guest blog post and add your views and experiences to this thread.

ProfMum Thu 14-Jun-12 13:12:13

This is very touching. We've just become grandparents for the first time - we live in Cardiff, they live in London, so not nearly so far as the USA. But the problem is similar - how to have routine contact, how to help, babysit, do practical things; how to make sure our lovely little granddaughter, Laura, knows who we are and becomes attached to us.

On the plus side, when we see them, they come to stay, or we stay with them, it's not just brief drop in visits, it's round-the-clock.

But one day, maybe, especially if more grandchildren come along, we may have to decide to move back to London - hmm. Not a hugely attractive prospect, and very expensive.

What to do ....

Grandma5 Thu 14-Jun-12 13:18:26

I read this with a tear in my eye,as it all sounds horribly familiar.My daughter also moved away with my grandchildren six months ago,and i find adjusting from seeing them every day to every now and then very difficult.

SueDonim Thu 14-Jun-12 13:33:08

Our only grandchild, T, also lives in California so we have the same issues as Janice has. When our grandson was born we ourselves were living in W Africa which made life even more complicated!

In the time since he was born we have been able to see our grandson more than I had imagined at first. We twice visited the US in his first year and our son and family came to the UK twice as well. Last year we went once to California and they again visited us for Christmas. This year, we plan to visit in October and hopefully they'll be here for Christmas again.

Our situation is complicated by my husband working abroad and we still have our youngest (of four) child at school so fitting in holidays to suit everyone isn't easy. There is also the cost of flights and hotels and I try not to think about what will happen if/when we get too decrepit to make the long trips, though I hope that won't be for many years yet!

We Skype regularly and T is now at an age where he interacts with us quite happily, though it has to be said, he is generally more interested in our cat than in us!! There is no replacement for hugs, though. I try to console myself by telling myself that when they do visit, it's usually for a couple of weeks at a time so our contact with our GS is simply concentrated into a short space of time rather than a couple of hours here and there.

I do sometimes reflect on the fact that when our children were smaller, we encouraged them to think that the world was their oyster, that there were no limits to what they could do or where they could go. It never dawned on us that the result might be four children who all live in different places!

meringues Thu 14-Jun-12 13:47:17

Our daughter moved over to The States 12 years ago, we have two adored american grandsons. Realistically, when we visit we spend more time with them than if we lived around the corner. I encouraged my children to "spread their wings" just as my parents did with the four of us. The distance is huge, yes, (they are in Southern California), but they have a fabulous life, and I don't resent that at all. They will be with us in 3 week's time, and already they are asking about meringues, the Olympic Torch, and their bedside books. Their Granpa and I love the anticipation and the noise when they are here.

grannyscalpay Thu 14-Jun-12 14:01:04

Oh, how pertinent this topic is for me! I live in Scotland, and my grandchildren are all in Canada. I spend a fortune travelling back and forth, and fortunately, my husband doesn't object. One grandson told his teacher I live at the airport. I agree with the granny who wrote that the visits where you spend several weeks with family are good, but the time between visits is difficult. Daughter and two granddaughters just spent 3 weeks with me in Scotland, and it was wonderful. But how quiet and lonesome the house was when they left! Skype and e-mail is great, but it's not the same. sad

Mamie Thu 14-Jun-12 14:25:33

Yes it is hard. We are in France, daughter and family in UK, son and family in Spain. We Skype regularly, but it is definitely not the same. The good thing is that our time together is precious and the grandchildren regard it as a treat rather than an everyday thing.

lucyinthesky Thu 14-Jun-12 14:46:00

My husband and I are about to get divorced this year (after 30+ years of marriage) as he is gay. My new partner is French so I spend about 70% of my time with him in Paris trying to build a new life at the ripe old age of 64.

Meanwhile our eldest daughter who still lives in London will be having our first grandchild late September and I already worry about being away from them (although obv I will be back for the birth and to help when they need it)

In the same way that we encourage our children to be independent and ive where it is best for them, I am in the opposite situation. In order to create a life for myself I choose to be in Paris but of course I miss the proximity of my children, and my soon to be grandchild sad

If anyone can give any tips as to how to maintain the closeness of family relationships while living apart I'd be very grateful. I do have Skype but it isn't always great neither is the phone as I am partially deaf.

Thanks

Butternut Thu 14-Jun-12 14:58:04

My way of dealing with having my two grandchildren living in the USA is to live as full and well a life as I can here. At 4 and 2 they are still little, and I intend to be around for a long time for them. I visit once a year, with or without my husband, depending upon our finances. We have just had a very brief visit from them all of 4/5 days (and caught up with friends in London) - not nearly long enough - but finances and other commitments prevented them from staying longer. It was wonderful that the grandchildren recognised us through skype, and 'Monkey' - their favourite hand puppet who has a French accent! It was their first visit here. One is autistic, so it was particularly special. We are hoping our next visit to see them will be Sept. 2013.

We also took time to look at pooling our 'holiday' financial resources in the future, when the possibility of long haul travel from our end might not be as easy.

I can't say I miss them all the time, because they have never been a regular fixture in my daily life here, but there are days when I would give so much to see them running around the garden. Houses do come alive with children, and although I value peace and quiet, having them all here gave us and this cottage of ours deep pleasure and a sense of roots. All three generations under one roof was great!

When I feel isolated from my family, I take care to remind myself of their happiness, and know that I have done a good job in giving them the freedom to fly. smile

Hugs for all long-distance grandparents.

Ella46 Thu 14-Jun-12 15:05:50

((hugs)) from me too. I'm so lucky to have my son & family a 3 minute drive away, and my dd is just under an hours drive.
flowers for you all.

absentgrana Thu 14-Jun-12 15:43:07

Absentdaughter flew to New Zealand when she was 17 and I knew then that she would never return to the UK to live. Since then, she married and divorced the man she flew out to be with and with whom she had a son, then fell in love with another man to whom she is now married and they have just had their fourth child. She is approaching her thirtieth birthday and I have missed her every day for the past 12 years. I have been to NZ a few times, sometimes on my own and sometimes with Mr absent, the most recent being March and April this year when Finn, the latest addition, was born. She, my son-in-law and two of the children visited us two years ago – we hadn't actually met those two until then. We e-mail, we talk on phone, I send postcards and books and things that have amused me to the children. She sends me photographs. It is horribly painful being separated. After a very long wait and much toing and froing, Mr absent and I now have blue visas pasted into our passports and some time before the end of May next year, we shall leave the UK and settle in NZ. I shall never have to sit on a plane from Nelson to Auckland sobbing quietly into an entire pack of tissues again. smile

Butternut Thu 14-Jun-12 15:51:33

Woohoo! smile absent, as my daughter-in-law would say.

I wonder if it is different when it is sons who leave to make a life in another country?

Stansgran Thu 14-Jun-12 16:07:41

I am lucky as one daughter lives a forty minute train ride away-tho' at £20 odd for a return I think twice before seeing the DGCs but my other daughter is abroad and I would love to Skype them but she is always too busy so I miss seeing them on a weekly basis. I noticed in information about the role of the aging population in a forum she was running she wrote about skype being the virtual kitchen table. Wish she would follow her noble thoughts in reality. Her sister does a good job in reminding her that her parents exist and for that matter her children's grandparents exist. The elder child phoned me up out of the blue this week and I was thrilled but I think she was worried she would be found out(expensive call)but at least I know she can

Grandmanorm Thu 14-Jun-12 16:32:05

All three of our offspring live abroad. Oldest son in Boston (USA) daughter (middle) in Sydney and youngest son in southern LA.
We all have iPhones and we find that Facetime is excellent for keeping in touch, as one can wander around whilst chatting. Our youngest GC is 5 our oldest 23. They are all at ease using the iPhone, even the 5 year old who chats away quite happily. It is most definitely not the same as having them in the same country, but it helps I guess.
They are all well, happy and all gainfully employed. My head knows this and is happy for them all. My heart on the other hand "often" cries, especially on those long hours on the plane when we leave them.
I often wonder just what we did that they all moved so far away from us. My comfort is that we are all in touch regularly.
I used to send regular parcels but postage is horrendous so I am not sending nearly so many now :-(
Oh, we both have visas for the USA, one never knows when countries may stop ease of entry, so I am now on my second 10 year on and DH on his first.
This wasn't the easiest message to write as it makes me aware again, of just how far away they all are.

Mamie Thu 14-Jun-12 16:35:09

On a practical note I do find it helpful to be able to send presents via Amazon. M and S and Littlewoods deliver in Europe for a low-cost flat rate as well.

Speldnan Thu 14-Jun-12 17:37:56

This is such a common situation but so heartbreaking. My son and DIL went to NZ 2 and a half years ago for a 3 year contract which is being extended. Their little girl ( my first GC) will be one this weekend. I have seen her only once when she was a few weeks old and only a few times on Skype . It broke my heart when my son went as he and I were close- when my GD was born the situation was even worse!
For various reasons I don't want to go over there- not least because getting to know my GD would make it even harder to be without her. I am divorced and tend to try to protect myself from pain now- maybe its selfish but I can't help feeling abandoned by my son and angry about my grandchild living on the other side of the world. I talk to them when they bother to take the time but the situation hurts me all the time!
Luckily my daughter and her new son live near enough for me to see them weekly which compensates somewhat. As everyone knows though-one child or grandchild does not make up for another!

uknana Thu 14-Jun-12 18:18:36

Absolutely no difference at all Butternut. My son chose to go to Northern Ireland with his wife (her homeland) and thus I have two beautiful grandchildren that I try to see as often as I can. It is the helplessness of not being on the spot to do the little things that can help our hard-working children now that we are time-rich. Skype is great but you can't hug online. I, too, live at the airport and am picked up and dropped off there! I think it hurts sometimes to feel sorry for ourselves, but we have obviously given them the wings and confidence to do it. It's a bit like the blackbirds that were nesting in my garden. I protected them from cats until I saw the chicks fly and now they are gone.

jorj Thu 14-Jun-12 18:23:12

Ours live in Eastern Canada. Shorter flight than, say, the Aus/NZ, or Western America; but far enough! We have a 10-month-old GS, whom we visited over Christmas and they are coming over for a couple of weeks in the summer (summer? what is that, again??). But we have a regular time for a weekly skype-ing which suits us all - and if we aren't going to be available at that time we email or phone alternatives.

GS and I blow kisses on skype, I tell him about the latest toy I have bought for him, and we were all squealing with excitement when he learnt to crawl the other week and obligingly demonstrated for doting grans. I think he recognises us. We'll see, when they arrive here 'for real'! He might be surprised that we exist in 3-D, off screen!

Incidentally, our dog has learnt to bark for our attention if we are out of earshot when skype pipes up - v. useful!

To Lucyinthesky: I also find Skype difficult to hear, and my son talks so quickly that I can't listen fast enough (he says!). Facebook (which I know can be insecure and we have to be so careful) is fun, though. Now that I have so many new friends and relatives in Canada I really enjoy using it, sharing photos, chat, commenting on something crazy which doesn't merit a letter/phonecall/skype or whatever. And if the other party happens to be online at the same time, you can use instant messaging, too, which can have hilarious results if your instant typing is as typo-ridden as mine!

Life goes on - keeping busy helps, I agree.

Mamie Thu 14-Jun-12 18:30:36

We have pathetic "broadband" in our bit of France and the first English phrase our half-Spanish grandaughter said was "Granny's stuck..."

Gally Fri 15-Jun-12 07:14:36

I have 3 daughters all of whom were brought up in Scotland. 2 now live in the south of England and the third is in Sydney. Between them they have 7 children and one imminent. I try to see the 'English' ones as often as possible and we all skype, however as I become older it will be more difficult to constantly travel back and forth; they try and visit 'home' a couple of times a year but it's difficult with all the paraphernalia associated with babies and petrol isn't getting any cheaper, so expense comes into the equation. Since the 3rd married an Aussie in 2003, I have managed to visit 9 times and I know I am lucky to be able to do this, but it doesn't make life any easier, especially since being widowed this year. I don't feel I really 'know' my Oz grandchildren that well and feel great resentment towards the other grandparents who live next door to them but give very little assistance, if any, to my daughter who on occasions becomes very homesick and rings me in desperation. Sometimes I just want to get them by the scruff of the neck and ask them if they have ever thought how difficult, sad (and expensive!) it is for me just to be able to see our grandchildren, but I know it wouldn't help the already rocky situation. My problem is to decide what to do - whether to downsize and be near one or other of my UK daughters, leaving 31 years of life and friends behind in Scotland, which would then enable me to spend longer in Sydney, or stay put until such time as I feel a move is necessary; I hasten to add that I am a very healthy, active 64 and don't anticipate becoming dependent on any one in the near future! Like Grandmanorm I am happy for all my girls and their husbands are all gainfully employed. I just feel stretched in 4 directions and incapable of coming to a decision. confused. The late Mr.G used to say if you don't know what to do, just remain with the status quo, and that's what I am doing at present.

Butternut Fri 15-Jun-12 07:25:58

Gally Some wise words your John has left for you.

newt148 Fri 15-Jun-12 07:57:09

I have a similar situation and know how painful it is, I'm in Ireland and the family are in UK and the far side of Ireland. But life and time takes its toll and travel is limited and goodbye's so painful..hugs for all us grandparents who reside away. always saying "one day" (smile)

Mamie Fri 15-Jun-12 08:44:10

Just waved mine off to school (sniff, sniff). Off now to bounce back home across the channel for six hours!
Only six weeks until my next visit, though.

julika Fri 15-Jun-12 09:53:30

My daughter lives in New York, has done for the past 11 years. To our surprise and delight she produced a granddaughter 2 1/2 years ago at the age of 40, but it is such a double-edged sword! We visit twice a year and they come twice a year, but it is very expensive as their flat is too small to put us up, so on top of the flights, we have to pay for a hotel as well. Skype is wonderful, but GD has a thick Brooklyn accent and with Skype's distortion, it is hard to understand her. D calls me every other day, but only "Are you OK?" "Yes, thank you, and you?" most of the time. We get on very well with the other GM, but of course there is a bit of jealousy that she can help them out and we can't.
Right now we have a crisis at this end and I would give anything to have my D with me. They will be here next week, but they will go back, of course they will go back and this time it will be harder for D as well, which doesn't really help me.

flowerfriend Fri 15-Jun-12 10:00:17

I am a long-distance granny as well. It's my doing and so I don't complain. I enjoy the life I have in France. When I do see my grandchildren it's for a nice chunk of time. This isn't so bad when they are a little older but I felt they were unsure for the first hours when they were toddlers. The cost of the travelling is a big bit in my modest budget but they come to me as often as I go to them and both ways are relaxed visits. Gally Enjoy your visit for the arrival of your next GC but I am glad to see you are sensible enough not to be making hasty decisions about any move.

kelpie Fri 15-Jun-12 11:34:05

My daughter and two small children are in Australia, they are happy and have a good lifestyle and I go out once a year for a month so they know me wel and they come back every two years as well. Over all I see a fair amount of them, but always in chunks rather than a day here or there.
My concern is the escalating cost of air travel and it is about to become even more expensive. We are being encouraged to cut down on air travel, but long distance grandparents aren't going for the conventional holiday experience. I know that I am lucky to see them.
We don't like the Skype experience, it's jerky and slow at both ends, bur we speak very regularly and I have just had my first text from my seven year old. there are so many ways to keep in touch, we are lucky.

nanaej Fri 15-Jun-12 12:42:50

I am exceedingly lucky to be so close (10 mins walk) from both DDs and the GC. Part of this proximity was to be able to offer some childcare so that DDs can work and thus reduce their outgoings. I have a positive, loving and good relationship with GCs but think that a positive of being more long-distance might be that you are seen a very special treat! I am part of the day to day scenery!!

Conni Fri 15-Jun-12 20:21:21

I too have children who all live abroad. I feel that you can't teach them to be self-sufficient and then complain when they up and go, but it's very hard. I have a daughter who has been in California for 22 years, married to an American (no children, but many dogs). Two sons, one in Kiev and one in Dubai. We keep in touch with grandchildren in Dubai, by Skype and Facebook, and they come over twice a year. We have been to California every year for about 20 years, but are now in our late seventies and feel we can't face all the hassle at the airports any more (plus the time differences). So what to do? Just accept it, rejoice that our children are happy and get on with our lives! Sometimes I wonder what it was all in aid of! flowers

JessM Fri 15-Jun-12 20:52:27

Hi there - some new names here. Or have you all been lurking in the cookery and quilting threads?
My DS1 is in Sydney with H 7 and her brother F who is 4. Broke my heart when they left but I have adapted. DS 2 is in NZ. At least, I say to people, they are both in lovely places. And I am able to visit them. DH is supportive of my trips (funding, putting up with no wife for weeks on end) but I know he finds it hard. They are not his kids and this made it a particularly lonely time when they departed.
Visiting them is a big chunk of time out of the rest of my life - a few days to get ready, I have to visit both sons, and then a week of jet lag.
I don't talk on Skype that often, but sometimes H is very chatty. F at the moment is not really (although very much so when I am there). Time difference makes it difficult.
I find it difficult that I can't easily get there to help out as both parents seem exhausted quite a lot of the time, both working , both kids demanding.
When i go to stay they are relieved to have help and I have an intense time doing things with the kids.
They are coming over for a visit in a few weeks - which I never really expected to happen (I know they can't afford it!!!!) It is going to be a huge treat, although I will not see them for very long - there are lots of other people on the list that they have not seen for years.
It was the same when DS2 came to visit - he was booked in here for a week - but in the end was in much demand by friends in London etc - so we had a weekend together only.
It has really scuppered our having holidays as a couple. People think I am " always on holiday" and I feel I have to explain to them that it is a visit, actually.
But we have booked a proper, grown up holiday this year.

marti Sat 16-Jun-12 01:52:26

Me too. Son in London, 2 yo grandaughter who have visited twice in last two years, once when 9th, once when 2, and i was in Uk for a month when she was 1. It is soooo hard, hate the last few days when it is on "countdown" before the airport and goodbyes, usually skype weekly and get to see her on that, and she does know me quite well from times spent and has an excellent memory. I hope to go again next year for a block of time. But it is hard on them too, they don;t have other family able to support them in London, both with busy highflying jobs and would love a few nights off i am sure. His partner has visited 3 times, and she hates flying so it is a big ask, and on the last flight home the 2 yo only slept an hour. It also means that large chunks of their annual leave is taken up with seeing the family here and they dont get much chance to travel other places on their own. Before the grandaughter I had met him a few times in New York and India, combining part of holiday time with connecting visit. I have another grandaughter here i see weekly at least, she is now l0, and they too would like their brother/uncle/cousin here as well. I have found Amazon great for present buying without the high postage of things sent from here and imagine i will be using that a lot in the future.

janeainsworth Sat 16-Jun-12 08:08:53

I have experienced this over two generations.
My son lives near Washington DC with his (American) wife and our two dearly loved grandchildren aged 2 1/2 and 1, and I echo the thoughts of everyone who has posted so far - the difficulty with Skype, the envy of the other grandparents who live nearby, the worry that we won't have a close relationship with these grandchildren.
However, I have been through all this before as a parent - we lived in Hongkong for 11 years and all our 3 children were born there.
My mother and mother-in-law both came to visit us for a month at a time almost every year and we went home for a month too.
The children loved their grandmothers and were close to them - and there was no Skype, texting, Facebook etc at that time. I think it's quality of time, not quantity that's important, though that doesn't stop me missing them terribly sometimes.
I hope that helps others.

glammanana Sat 16-Jun-12 08:26:32

We are lucky now to be living 15mins from DGCs up until 3 yrs ago we lived in Spain for nearly 10yrs and had the DGCs come and stay every holiday ie: 3 weeks at Christmas/2 at easter and the whole of the summer hols we where very fortunate that a friend had a mobile home nearby and they used to stay there so there was no expence as regard hotels etc,when they where back in UK I kept in touch twice a week by phone and e-mail then later skype it was sad to see them leave after their stay with us but I had more quality time with them than I do now as they have grown up and got their own circle of friends who they socialise with.

Mamie Sat 16-Jun-12 08:58:25

Thanks jaineainsworth, I think that does help. I do find it is easier as they get older, but I think when they are babies and you are needed for whatever reason, then it is very hard.
My DH's grandparents lived in Cairo and then Australia and he only met them a few times, but he has very happy memories of them.

flowerdew Sat 16-Jun-12 21:09:27

I am also a long distance Grandma.
My Daughter and her husband went to Canada 23 Years ago,taking Daniel my grandson who I had looked after so his Mother could go to work for 10 months.After 2 yaers they had a daughter and we went over for the birth.We went on visits and on occassion they all come home.My Daughter and her Husband are visiting me on August 7th for 2 weeks.I am looking foreward to it as Im now a widow and have sold the family home and live in a bungalowthat is Warden Controllled.I hope they will likemy new surroundings and we have a good time.I feelit will be particularly hard when the day arrives for them to return home.Still I have all the good things to come before that day arrives Its amazing what we can do when push comes to shove isnt it?

yogagran Sun 17-Jun-12 11:43:55

I find that it's the "Goodbyes" that are the most painful part. I have DS, partner & DGD living in Canada and it is difficult. Communication is so much better than years ago - at least we have Skype and for anyone who has a smartphone or iPhone there is a great app called "WhatsApp" for free text messages (certainly between the UK and Canada, not sure about Australia etc).
janeainsworth's comment about quality not quantity was particularly helpful and sympathetic, thanks jane

janeainsworth Sun 17-Jun-12 12:16:13

You're welcome, Mamie and Yogagran smile
I agree about the painful goodbyes.
The last time my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who was 6 months old at the time came over, 2 years ago, we all went out on their last evening with our 2 daughters and their partners, to our local Chinese restaurant for a farewell dinner - what a mistake, everyone sitting round looking and feeling miserable! They are coming again in August and this time I think we'll send the grown-up kids out while we babysit!
I think our daughters feel it too - they don't have the time and/or money to visit their brother nearly as much as they would like and would love to have more involvement with their niece and nephew.

JessM Sun 17-Jun-12 12:52:01

You're right about the quality jane - I know that if I add up the hours with my GKds they are quite a lot - I am very lucky.
You are so right flower it is amazing what we can do. I draw strength from remembering my Gran, whose second son emigrated, with grandsons, just 2 years after her only other child, my father, died at the age of 34.
And she just got on with it. Used to send The Beano and The Dandy over to them. This was the late 50s when there were no phone calls.
I am so glad that she saw lots of me and my sister. We would go for holidays with my mother and then later on our own. Must have been a huge help.

Grannygee Mon 18-Jun-12 12:23:53

Oh how I can identify with so many of your comments! My daughter decided when she was 14 that she was not going to do like dad and get her 'A' levels then go to Uni, instead she got her 'A' levels and went off with Project Trust to the Sinai to rehydrate storks! She never came back really. Well, that's not true she did her degree in Sussex, got a first then went back to her passion of diving in th Red Sea where she became an instructor, met her now husband then left Egypt to go to a tiny island off Zanzibar to manage it wit her husband! We visited her as often as we could but as someone said no sooner than you arrive than you are thinking about having to say goodbye! A 10 hour flight to Nairobi and then to Zanzibar became a pain in the neck even though I did it on my own twice so I could see her when my husband couldn't because of work. I thought about her every day and on Friady nights for some reason I usually shed a tear into my G & T! I used to wonder whether it was us and she just didn't want to be near us. We skyped but it was frusrating as it went slow or fizzled out.

I'd stayed close to home and have been in a close relationship with mum and dad throughout my married life. Now they are old and demetia and illness is becoming real worry. This story has a a happy ending. My D got pregnant, got married in the UK and had a little boy whom she took back to the island for a year. We visited and saying goodbye became a complete nightmare. One day they told us they'd found jobs in London and they were coming home!! We were overjoyed! Now I can get on a train and be with her in 2 hours. This weekend I'm babysitting for our GS and will be exhausted but happy. I'm complete now. Life has become 'whole' for me and the GS has given unimaginable joy. I loved being a mum and threw myself into it wholeheartedly and had empty nest syndrome so badly but it's gone now. Thank heavens! I'm a lucky Gran! I empathise totally with people whose children move so far away. It's a bitter pill but one thing that I found to be true, we did have some quality time together when we did see each other! Some consolation maybe?

SueDonim Mon 18-Jun-12 17:50:36

It's interesting to note that others find Skype difficult at times. I do have some hearing loss so assumed it was my fault but maybe it's partly a Skype problem too.

I think my ds has missed home more since becoming a dad. He's remained very 'British' despite 10yrs in the US and now he has his own child, he misses the ability to give him the same sort of upbringing he himself had. Raising him to love Marmite has been one manifestation of that! Books are a subject close to his heart. American children's books are not a patch on UK ones so we send parcels of emergency books, such as the Mog stories and the Alberg tales. I spotted an imprint of the older style Ladybird books a year or so ago and quickly snaffled them up so my Grandson will know all the old fairy stories that mine grew up with.

Taking leaving of each other is very difficult. When they leave us, it's for a 6am flight, which is always grim but especially so in winter. Last Jan, after the snow fiasco the previous year, they booked into an airport hotel for that early flight. We had a family meal beforehand and it was in fact better than leaving at 4am in a taxi. Our little grandson screamed his head off when he realised we weren't staying in the hotel with him, though. sad

yearofthetiger Mon 18-Jun-12 18:17:26

My daughter and my granddaughter only live 150 miles away, so I'm quite well off compared with some of you ladies. But I often wish I was near enough to be a little more "hands on"! My DG is only 6 months old, but we've seemed to have got into a we visit one month, and they visit the next. And Facebook definitely has it's upside!

yearofthetiger Mon 18-Jun-12 18:18:40

GD not DG!

Ariadne Mon 18-Jun-12 18:27:03

We have always been some distance from our children - the furthest is DD in Devon, but, as some of you know, we are moving down there! but that is 5 hours away on a good day. (M25 permitting.)

The quality time with DGC has been fantastic, but DD and I are really looking forward to the fact that we may be able just to meet accidentally in town! What a treat! And the others two DC will be nearer too.

I have watched my children being driven off to boarding school so many times, and cried so much, that separation seems a way of life. But it is nothing like what you truly long distance Grans are going through.

Love to you all.

Greatnan Mon 18-Jun-12 18:45:05

I was living in Monaco when my first few grandchildren were born but I still had a good relationship with them. I was in England for the birth of the rest of them, but then one daughter went to live in Malaysia - I had some wonderful holidays with her. When they returned to England, I retired to France. My other daughter and three of her six children emigrated to New Zealand in 2010 -I have had two very long holidays with them and this year I will also be seeing them at the wedding of one of her sons who lives in Kent. Then I will be going to NZ again next Spring. Eventually I will be joining them in NZ and then I will have to take long holidays in England to see my sister and my other grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
I don't enjoy the two days of travel but I love to hear how happy they are in their new life.
I am Facebook friends with most of them and both my daughter and I get free calls via our internet provider so we speak several times a week. I don't use Skype, but my daughter talks to her son, DIL and two grandchildren every week.

Living in a different country/continent from all my family is not what causes my anguish - that arises from emotional separation from one daughter and three of her four children.

Stansgran Mon 18-Jun-12 18:52:14

What is fantastic is seeing all these other "new" names-are you all lurkers-and we all know how each other feels.[julika] ihad to stay on my own in NY while DGD was being born and I had a very good safe and comfortable studio off Broadway on bus routes etc so next time you go if you wish I will dig out the address

moomin Mon 18-Jun-12 19:59:33

Just picked up this thread (thank you Twitter!) and am in tune with all the thoughts posted here, there are so many of us with our children and grandchildren overseas or miles away in the UK. Forthunately my 2 sons and their families live only 45 miles away so we do see each other quite often, but before my move to Northumberland we only lived a couple of miles away so there was much more contact then.

My DD emigrated to NZ with her husband and baby of 4 months in 2006 and words can't describe how much I miss her and my two grand-daughters. When her husband was offered a job in NZ she asked me my view on them going to live over there (they'd already had a holiday out there to see what they thought of the country, they loved it!). She was worried about leaving me and how much we would miss each other. My response was they had to do what was right for their family and their future, that I was behind them 100% and if I had had the opportunity when I was their age I would have gone for it.

It sounds as if I made the perfect response, which I think I did, but the thought of them being away on the other side of the world was horrendous.

They had another baby born out there, who was born with a health problem (thanks to a wonderful surgeon she fully recovered) and I made a mercy dash which took 3 days door to door. I have visited every year since they went and last year my DD was diagnosed with MS whilst I was out there (a shock to us all as she'd had no prior symptoms) and it was so, so fortunate that I was there at the time and able give lots of love and support, but my, it was difficult to come back home after that visit!

Basically that is the real problem for me, the enormous distance when things go wrong, plus the emotional goodbyes. But . . . they are having a fabulous life out there, are very, very happy and I get to spend 6 weeks every year with them and really getting to know my 2 GDs.

Greatnan Tue 19-Jun-12 06:58:05

Moomin - you were very unselfish in encouraging your daughter to emigrate - I did the same. My son-in-law got terrible grief and emotional blackmail from his own family, dire warnings that they would be back within a year 'with their tails between their legs' . Fortunately they could not have been more wrong as the whole family love their new life. His father and sisters have now come round to acknowledging that they did the right thing, but I thought it was very cruel to try to make them feel guilty.
I notice that on 'Wanted Down Under' several parents/grandparents try to persuade their children not to go because it will make them (the parents) unhappy. Surely the most important thing is for your children to fulfil their dream - if it does not work out (and some people just don't settle) they will need sympathy and support - not triumphal 'I told you sos').
I am heartened to see that, in spite of missing their families so much, all our 'long haul' grannies are supportive of their children's decisions.

dorsetpennt Tue 19-Jun-12 10:40:16

I lived in Canada as a child and didn't see my grandparents until we returned to the UK when I was 9 years old. We went back to Canada when I was 13 and returned to the UK when I was 15. Of course there was no e-mail,jet travel, and very long distance phone calls were expensive and had to be booked in advance. You only got three minutes. So my contact with my beloved g/parents was in the form of those lovely crinkly air mail letters. When I was married my ex and I moved to New York when my son was 20 months old. I always felt so guilty depriving both him and his granny of a lovely relationship.She barely knew my daughter as she hadn't known her during her babyhood. No e-mail again and I have all the letters to and from my MIL.I read these from time-to-time and it's almost a diary of my seven years in NYC. However, we were able to make cheaper regular phone calls and flew home at least once a year. Of course there is now skype and e-mail and what a difference that must make. Sadly, with the demise of personal letters unless you keep all your e-mails, this sort of journal of events will no longer exist. Although I have tracked down old school friends and work colleagues through sites like Facebook etc.

Nonnina Sun 01-Jul-12 18:17:46

There is a place deep in the heart of a long distance gran that is as fragile as crystal. My only grandson turned six months old on the 29th June, and lives in Auckland with my daughter and son-in-law. I saw him seconds after he was born and held him so close. But............three weeks later I had to fly back to South Africa and something inside of me died. I could not explain the pain of seperation to anyone. My heart broke. My husband could not understand as he is a second marriage husband and I crawled into a cacooon of isolation from everyone. My dad passed away in March, my only lifeline here. Yes............I am a Skype granny, but I can't hold my grandson, kiss him, hug him, give him cuddles and sing a lullabye to him. I can not move to Auckland and they will not ever come back to SA. The crystal inside my heart is showing signs of shaterring.

Gally Mon 02-Jul-12 19:37:05

Hang in there Nonnina. As you see there are a lot of us long distance grans and it is desperately sad that we can't be near our beloved children and gc's but it does become easier as time passes; you just have to get your head around the situation and put everything into perspective. Fact - they are there and you are where you are and the likelihood of that changing is not very high; once you've done that - make the most of phone, skype, visits, letters etc.... smile

JessM Mon 02-Jul-12 20:08:25

I'll second that, and it is harder when you are not still with the grandad. I remember Gally saying that you do find a box to put this in. You will. But you sound like you need a good cry.

Greatnan Mon 02-Jul-12 20:43:48

It is easier when the gc are older and can keep in touch by Facebook, e-mails and phone. I am in contact in one way or another with seven of my ten gc on a regular basis and get news and photos of my great-granddaughters too. I have found emotional estrangement far more difficult to deal with than geographical distance.

FlyingGranny Thu 26-Jul-12 18:58:27

My username of Flying Granny says it all: 3 grandchildren in Quebec, Canada, my daughter gets up early on odd Sunday mornings for a good long phone chat courtesy of 18185 calls at 1/2p a minute, we prefer it to Skype and calls dropping. 3 grandchildren in Quito Ecuador, their ADSL uploading time is not good and small children twitch around out of focus and apart from sticking their face into the camera to show me a new tooth they'd rather scamper off to play. The time differences are quite a problem.
Two more grandchildren in Italy. At least I can afford the occasional five seats on Ryan Air for them to come for visits which is impossible for the transcontinental families, so it's up to one of me to fly. Then I worry about invading their space for a STAY as opposed to dropping in for a coffee and how the son-inlaw or d-inlaw feels about that, or even one's own children for that matter. Not easy.

My 9 yr old GD in Italy is a whizz at writing colourful emails full of emoticons, exclamation marks and the most wondrous Italian phonetic spelling of English, one has to take a run at it and read with a strong Italian accent. I circulate them to a few friends who relish them almost as much as I do.

Greatnan Thu 26-Jul-12 19:02:44

Flying granny, I know what you mean about having to stay for several weeks to make it worthwhile. I have been to New Zealand twice and each time stayed for six or seven weeks. I have a very good relationship with my son in law, but I did worry about outstaying my welcome. Now they have asked me to go and live in their garden in a little prefabricated cottage, I know he really means it when he says he is glad to have me around!

GrandmaPam Tue 25-Sep-12 11:25:18

Hi
I've just registered so not sure if I'm doing this in the right place, but this conversation thread seems to be pretty much what I'm after.
I'm about to be a first time Granny (any day now). We live in the north of England, and my son and his partner in the south - apart 6 hours drive generally. Baby is due any day (5 days over at present), and we are planning to spend a few days with them week beginning 7th October - so all being well, the baby will be at least one week old.
My husband and I can't agree on where to stay; I want to be able to help them as much as possible, so stay with them to be on hand. He thinks they will need to still establish a routine, especially at night-time, and that we would be better staying in a B&B but just spending days with them (or just with baby, letting them get some relaxing time on their own). He asks me to try to remember how it felt to be new parents, and how would we have felt if our parents (for me, specifically my inlaws) came to stay one week in...I can't imagine, because we didn't have that scenario, as we lived close by.
I don't know what to do for the best? Has anyone got an opinion?

Butternut Tue 25-Sep-12 11:34:42

Hi GrandmaPam - Hoping all goes well ......

Several ways to go with this I feel. First is to ask your son what he thinks would be best for your daughter-in-law and the new baby - after all this is a time where their needs are the more important as it's such a special time.

Personally, I'd book into a B&B - and take it from there. You can still be as hands on as possible - but just giving them their own time and space at each end of the day.

Think your husband is spot on.

annodomini Tue 25-Sep-12 11:46:11

Tell them you are booking in to a B&B. If they throw up their hands in horror and look hurt, perhaps you could stay with them if they look relieved, then it's the B&B. My parents came to stay when I had my babies and I was very pleased to have them, especially the first time when I was very anaemic after the delivery and felt a bit weak and watery!

johanna Tue 25-Sep-12 11:50:01

Agree with butter: your husband is spot on.
Dare I say that three days is probably enough?

GrandmaPam Tue 25-Sep-12 11:56:47

Thanks Butternut, Annodomini and Johanna......unfortunately it would seem (yet again) that my husband is actually wiser than me! I did think of asking my son for his opinion, but he's so nice that he would never say 'don't stay with us'! I think we'll book in B&B and just re-assure them that we will stay all evening if they want to go out - we will literally just be sleeping away. Also Johanna....I agree (yes!) that three days is going to be enough - not for me, but for them. It is a life-changing thing for them, and they will definately need time on their own - don't want to eat into my son's paternity leave too much!
I'm so glad I joined this forum....I feel so much better

Greatnan Tue 25-Sep-12 12:08:41

My daughter in NZ has no very young children but I know she values her privacy and she is often busy with Riding for the Disabled. I am quite happy to borrow her car and take myself off for the day,exploring the wonderful countryside of South Island. They do take me for days out but I make a point of giving them some money for each week I am there as I know their petrol bills increase. On my next trip in Feb/March, which is for six weeks, I am taking one week to go down to Fjiordland and another to have a snorkeling trip, probably to New Caledonia. I have also offered to house/dog/cat/sheep/teenager sit if they want to have a few days away on their own.
They know I don't need babysitting and am happy on my own.
They had several holidays at my various gites in France and they usually bought all the food for the whole family, which was very welcome. I get on extremely well with my SIL but I would hate it if I thought I was encroaching too much on his good nature.

harrigran Tue 25-Sep-12 12:34:20

Welcome GrandmaPam. When my first GD was born I visited every day but went home at night, I live in the north east and 40 minutes travelling from DS and Dil. I think they thought they could manage without help but after a CS it was a case of all hands on deck. A very different story for second GD, an elective CS and coinciding with GD1 starting pre-school. DH and I moved into DS's and took over childcare and meal preparation and so on. Worked quite well as DIL became ill with chest infection and needed medical care too. We stayed only until DIL said she thought she could manage and DS was on paternity leave too.
I think it is important not to outstay your welcome and do what we always say ... bite your tongue, they have all these books you see that tell them how to do things properly hmm

janeainsworth Tue 25-Sep-12 15:47:50

Hello GrandmaPam, I agree, go for the B&Bsmile.
Your little grandchild might be less than a week old on Oct 7th and your son and partner will be finding their feet, and it will be easier for them if they have some privacy, though of course they will be very glad of your help too.
We live 4 hours' drive away from DD and when she was expecting DGD, they said we could go and see them the day after DD came out of hospital for about an hour (!) The same visiting rights were extended to SiL's parentssmile.
They wanted to be on their own for the duration of SiL's 2 weeks' paternity leave, and then could I possibly go down for a week when he went back to work.
I really enjoyed looking after my DD and DGD and I can promise you there is just nothing like the joy of holding your grandchild in your armsflowers

GrandmaPam Thu 27-Sep-12 09:12:16

Thanks to everyone for the advice - all of it good! I booked the B&B, but we have a slight compromise in that our daughter (so the baby's new auntie) will stay with the new parents and baby for one night - keeps our costs down and once she hits the pillow, nobody hears a peep out of her...don't think she will be a possible cause of 'intimidation' to the new parents with a crying baby! Our son and daughter in law happy - they did say they were happy for us (and expecting us) to stay with them, but understand why we've made this decision. I explained that they can't know now how they will feel, but even though its 30 years ago now, I can remember how I would have felt! We will be with them most of the time anyway, just not the nights...and we will stay with them next time and in the future, so everyone's happy.

maryskid Wed 21-Nov-12 19:23:26

My son moved to Perth Western Australia in August and his partner and our 2 children will be joining him as soon as they can find the right house at the right price. I was just getting used to all this when my daughter, son in law and our other 4 grandchildren called and told us they are moving next summer to new south wales, the opposite side of australia to my son. My son in law is a church of england vicar and he has found a parish over there. At present they live in Staffordshire about an hour and a half from us. I just feel as if my world is falling apart and really need to hear from other people in similar situations. Skype is ok but nothing beats physical contact. I just can't find any positives in all this at the moment.

Dresden Wed 21-Nov-12 19:44:07

maryskid sorry to hear that all your GC will be so far away flowers

My two GC live in China and we can't even use Skype (not available in China at the moment). We try to visit as often as possible, normally once every 8 or 9 months, but it's expensive and physically very tiring. We have got used to it and try to keep in touch with phone calls, e mails, and little presents sent through the post.

We miss so much, but our DS and DIL (who is Chinese) try to include us as much as possible and show the GC that they value the English family.We are getting ready to go over to China next month and will spend our first Christmas ever with the GC, very excited! smile

Butty Wed 21-Nov-12 21:31:27

maryskid That's a very tough call and I am sorry you are feeling so down.

I can understand that you're unable to find any positives at the moment, but I really hope you'll be able to enjoy your daughter and family's company to the full whilst they are still so close to you.
Quite a few GN-ers are in the same boat, so keep posting. smile

My son and his family all live in the States. They are happy, well and thoroughly enjoy their life. What more could I ask.

Dresden - A Christmas in China! Wonderful. sunshine

grannyactivist Wed 21-Nov-12 21:40:14

Maryskid - my daughter and her husband moved to New Zealand earlier this year so I do understand the wrench it is to know that your family is so far away. However, they won't be lost to you; you will see them again; you can Skype (it's immediate and it's free); phone - and if your finances are up to it there will be exchanges of visits. It's hard, but you will find it's bearable. Keep posting and you'll find lots of grans are in similar positions and will be happy to offer support/advice/a forum for sharing your feelings etc. flowers

maryskid Thu 22-Nov-12 12:41:40

Thanks for all your messages so far. I do skype my son so we are in touch. I will keep posting.

Gramsy Fri 08-Mar-13 03:27:10

I am completely new to the forum and need to share and get some advice. I have just been told by my daughter that her Air Force husband is being transferred to Japan. This includes 3 of my 5 grandchildren, ages 14 and twins age 9 months. I am totally devastated! I feel like my heart is being ripped out. The 14 year old and I are extremely close; she will be an adult when she returns! The twins will be strangers! How do I deal with this? I feel like I am mourning a death. Any advice is appreciated.

Greatnan Fri 08-Mar-13 07:23:44

NO, they won't be strangers. I have lived abroad for the lives of most of my ten grandchildren and it has not stopped me being very close to them. Your 14 year old can chat to you on Facebook or via emails and the little ones can see you on Skype.
I am currently staying in New Zealand with my daughter and her family - I see them usually once a year (a bonus this year was the wedding of another of her sons in the UK in August) and it feels as if I have never been away from them.
Believe me, emotional distance is much harder to cope with than physical distance.

Greatnan Fri 08-Mar-13 07:25:15

I forgot to add that I am planning to join them permanently in a few years!

whenim64 Fri 08-Mar-13 08:03:50

Bravo Greatnan we all know from your posts how involved you are with your grandchildren, and how you often have news to share about them flowers

Gramsy will you get chance to visit and holiday with them? They will only be a plane ride away, and there's an opportunity to you to visit that part of the world.

It isn't the same as them being nearby, but you can do plenty to bridge the gap with Skype, emaiis, Facebook, visits and the like. I hope you soon start to feel more positve about this news flowers

Gramsy Mon 11-Mar-13 01:07:49

Greatnan and Whenim64: Thank you for your responses. I won't get to visit unless there is a change. I currently work for a federal judge and am extrememly tied to my job for obvious reasons. I also just can't afford it. Since receiving the news, my daughter, whom I thought I was really close to, can't seem to talk. I know all of this is made worse of my chronic depression but this time it just seems like there is no solution. I am so unhappy about this! My grandchildren are the bright spot in my life and now I am wondering if I have done myself a great disservice by being so involved. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond.

Grandmanorm Mon 11-Mar-13 12:19:39

Gramsy my DH was in the RAF and we spent 4 years in Singapore (split into two postings) when the children were very young, two were born there, so my parents didn't see them as babies. As others have said, there was only letter writing to keep us in touch and it was painful.
However, my three were very very close to my parents in spite of all the years apart. The other Grandparents died before I met my DH, I add that in case anyone wondered why I didn't mention them!
I hope this helps.

Greatnan Tue 12-Mar-13 02:08:49

Gramsy - I hope you can still find happiness in thinking of your family, no matter where they are in the world. I am sure your grandchildren will know you and keep in touch. It really will feel like an amputation at first, but it does get better in time. My very best wishes to you.

Nainai2 Thu 04-Apr-13 23:26:21

Accurate empathy here. We have four and two-year-old grandsons living on mainland China about an hour from Hong Kong but yet another border to cross! My son and his Chinese wife lived in UK until our first grandson was 8 months old and my daughter-in-law missed her mum. Son very adventurous and a teacher, so the family moved. Completely broke my heart when they left. Meanwhile we see them roughly once a year either there or here and skype frequently - which is fraught with frustration because of China firewalls and time differences/logistical problems. My eldest grandson often says 'I miss you nana' and the little one has only recently started taking an interest. There are pretend kisses and hugs. It is the hardest thing. I cannot shrug off the knowledge that those babies are growing up behind my back. Sad. Have tried to develop a hard core and tell myself it is what it is and I must just get on with it.

Gramsy Fri 12-Apr-13 01:53:25

I just realized that I never said I was from central US, Arkansas to be exact. The days are going by so fast now and I am concerned with what is happening in the part of the world my babies will be in. Okinawa is just a jump from North Korea. Does anyone have family on Okinawa? My son is a Marine and spent time in Iraq. Other than that, I've never been away from my babies.

JackyB Sun 25-May-14 17:08:40

Excuse me for dragging this thread out of the cupboard, but I would like you all to know that I have taken some consolation from it. We are expecting our first grandchild at the end of July and 6 months later, in January 2015, my son, with his wife and baby, will up sticks and move to California, where he has a good job waiting for him.

I did this myself, like some of you on this thread have already described, and deprived my parents of their grandchildren, and in those days all we had were letters and photos on paper to send to each other. I live in Germany, so there wasn't so much of a problem with time difference, and telephone calls were expensive, but technically no problem. If I wanted to visit my parents with my babies, I had to go to a travel agent and book a flight. Occasionally we would drive over and visit them in the car.

My father was happy to drive and visit us once a year, and when the driving got too much for them, they flew once or twice. My mother flew over on her own, twice after I had had serious operations, and for the last time a few years ago when my oldest got married.

As parents, you don't realise what a wrench it must be for the grandparents, and now the tables are turning on me, I am torn between the exciting prospect of my first visit to the US and the sadness at having to watch my grandson go through those so very important early years at long distance.

They do plan to return to Europe when the little one starts school, though - so there is a distant light at the end of the tunnel.

Right. This is my first post on gransnet - I'm off to explore the site.

JessM Sun 25-May-14 17:43:20

Welcome JackyB and no problem at all reviving this thread. Where in California are they going?

ffinnochio Sun 25-May-14 17:56:10

Hello JackyB. Stuff in cupboards need airing sometimes smile. Hope you enjoy GN and all it has to offer.

Off to London in July to see latest grandchild. sunshine

Coolgran65 Sun 25-May-14 20:04:21

I have just returned to UK from west coast USA where my little grandson was born 9 months ago. It was a wonderful visit. We were leaving for the airport in the early hours of the morning and when little grandson was put to bed and we got our last hugs and kisses it was devastating. I went to pieces and after granda said his goodbyes he had to take himself into the garden.

They will never be back to the UK to live, only for visits. Thank goodness for emails and Skype.

yogagran Mon 26-May-14 19:26:05

Saying "goodbye" is always the worst part isn't it Coolgran
flowers for you

jose Wed 11-Jun-14 15:52:00

After reading these, I did not feel quite so bad at my feelings.

In 2004, my daughter and husband along with their 3 children left to go to Scotland, not so very far you may think, but to me it might as well be on the other side of the world. I took it really hard when they went and tried not to be too resentful at what had happened. After all this time the feelings have gone away.

My husband and I see them once a year for a couple of weeks as it is expensive to travel up there on a more regular basis.
I speak on the phone to my daughter weekly, skype does not seem to come into it at present.

All 3 grandchildren have autistic problems and therefore they have not visited us, so it is just up to us. We are both getting older and feel we have missed out. My daughter is having a tough time and we wish she was closer so we could give her the help she requires, but all we can do is speak on the phone, not the same.

Luckily I have 2 other grandsons who live an hour's drive away and see them and are part of their lives.

We both wish that it was different, but they have their own lives to lead, they thought at the time it was the right thing.

MollyCK Fri 27-Jun-14 20:14:58

We just started using this free application called “Moment Garden” to get real time updates on our new grandson Mark. Our son and daughter in law have created a “Garden” for Mark that is completely private and only available to see by invitation. We get an email everyday with any new photo about Mark or an update about him. It is truly the highlight of my day. We can also add “moments” to Mark’s garden or send comments to him or his parents. It’s a wonderful application, especially important to me because of the privacy. In this day and age I prefer not to have my personal information all over the internet for everyone to see.

PatriciaPT Thu 24-Jul-14 14:34:51

Lots of good ideas from lots of Grans. I'm not good at keeping in touch with my 2 overseas GC. I have 8 GC in the UK and it's difficult enough keeping up with all of them! Sometimes I visit my son and help him with childcare when the children are staying with him (he is divorced and both he and his ex live in widely separated countries overseas) but as they get older that becomes less relevant. Remembering to Skype at a time when they are not asleep in bed is not my strong point and I need to set up a system. Occasionally they come here but my guess is it will be nearly 2 years since I last saw them in person before I see them again. That of course is nothing to the way it worked for (e.g.) missionaries in the past when children came 'home' to the UK to boarding school, spent the holidays with a UK 'guardian' and didn't see their parents (never mind their GP) again for many years. There are adults, not a few of them, suffering still as a result of that particular regime. We actually have it really easy nowadays in general.

Coolgran65 Thu 24-Jul-14 20:17:25

I have just been reading these posts again (I made a post a couple of months ago). It has made be feel quite emotional and yet it is heart warming to know there are other grans who love and miss their GC. Mine is 7k miles away on west coast USA. My DS is quite good at keeping in touch with very very frequent emails but doesn't think to tell of the tiny day to day details... like...eg .....'' DGS finger fed himself for the first time today''' !! little stuff. His wife is from the USA. DS went to uni at 18 and stayed on to do a Ph.d. Then worked in England (I'm in N.Ireland), then met a girl from USA and got a great job on West Coast USA. So it is actually 20+ years since he really lived at home. Ddil is also a Ph.d. and first DGS was born when they were 40. It is 3 years since their last visit here. We visited this summer and to meet DGS. Ddil sends pics but not a great deal of chat, although when we did visit she was very hospitable and tearful when we left. They know how we miss them and DGS but I don't want to say just how heart wrenching it is.... their life is where they are. Her parents are many 100s of miles distant and health is an issue.
I have to accept that this is how it is. Skype is ok, but can be a bit disjointed and occasionally unsatisfactory. Hiccups with the technology and of course 8 hours time difference.