Gransnet forums


Long distance grandparenting

(86 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.

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... .....'' 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.