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Family on the coast

(19 Posts)
Water69 Mon 24-Jun-19 00:35:48

My son and family live on the west coast have been to our home only twice in the past 4 years. We live in the Midwest. My granddaughter is 4. I am also somewhat disabled and walk with a cane. She is very sweet but of course we do not see each other much and so really hard to develop a relationship. Any tips would be appreciated!

stella1949 Mon 24-Jun-19 01:33:46

Could you not go to see them sometimes ? Walking with a cane shouldn't make it impossible to travel - my husband walks with a cane but we fly to see our daughter and grandchildren every few months. If you want to see them, make the effort and do it .

ninathenana Mon 24-Jun-19 04:54:44

Do you facetime/Skype at all. Not the same I know, but it does help. We chat to our GC weekly but haven't had FtoF since December '18

BradfordLass72 Mon 24-Jun-19 05:48:45

Skype, WhatsApp and other communication software helps many Grandparents keep in touch.
Check them out. smile

Both free, both easy to install and use.

janeainsworth Mon 24-Jun-19 07:08:19

Travelling with small children isn’t easy either, water.
I agree with stella, you could go out west and see them. Assistance is usually available if you need it. Could you go by train or drive if you don’t like flying?
We have travelled by train in the USA and although we are not disabled, as seniors we were told to board the train first and there were lots of staff helping everyone with their bags.
We’ve also travelled on Megabus which only cost $12 from New Orleans to Mobile, and that was surprisingly comfortable.
3 of my grandchildren live in Virginia and I do miss them very much. But we FaceTime & I send them letters and cards and it gets easier as they get older.

BlueBelle Mon 24-Jun-19 07:46:51

I ve no idea of the distances involved as I know US is pretty huge but at the end of the day there is only one answer if you want to see the little one you need to make the effort even if you do have a walking stick, if you aren’t well enough to make that effort then you have to accept second best and build up a text /video /Skype /postal relationship and enjoy that more limited relationship
Many many grandparents have their little ones miles away two of mine are 11,500 miles away and we ve only really met in person about 6 /8 times in the last 20 years but that’s how it is I ve still treated them the same as the ones that live nearer but if course there is a difference you aren’t really involved or know about their lives only in snatches so never so close but it is as it is

NanaandGrampy Mon 24-Jun-19 09:37:59

We don't live that distance away from our little ones but we don't see them anywhere near as much as we did when we lived closer.

To help keep our relationship alive I send a postcard to each child every week. I supplied them with cards and stamps and they write back, not every week but when they want to.

Even the littlest can do that , or send a picture. They love getting post.

I also send tiny parcels filled with bits and bobs( nothing expensive) , it might be new pencils, a toy car or a pretty lipgloss depending on the child. They love that and if one does not arrive on time they are waiting for the postman daily. They email me that they received them and tell me something about their lives.

It gives us talking points for Facetime or Skype.

I too walk with a stick but I've travelled a lot in the US and they make it very easy accommodating disability , so I say bite the bullet, make the trip- it will be so worth it.

Septimia Mon 24-Jun-19 09:48:49

I write to my GD and have done since before she was old enough to read letters for herself.
I've written letters telling her what we've been doing and I've written stories. I've illustrated both with hand-drawn pictures (not always very good!).
Unfortunately I tend to letter-write in fits and starts, but she can keep and re-read what I've sent.

Maybe you can do something similar. Even if you don't feel that drawing pictures is your thing, you could still cut out pictures to stick on your letter. Each letter then will be something personal between you and her and, hopefully, her parents will put them in a file for her to keep.

Summerlove Mon 24-Jun-19 15:56:49

I would start looking into video messaging.
We face time far away family once Every two weeks or so. Just as schedules allow. We purposely have not set up a set time, because that is unfair to everyone’s expectations and time.

Small children generally don’t want to be in front of the screen talking for more than 3 to 5 minutes. So make sure you don’t set expectations too high for them.

Good luck!

Septimia Mon 24-Jun-19 16:57:47

Yes, we video messaged with our GD, too. Her attention span was very short so she used to carry on playing while we watched with occasional comments - just as we would have done had we been there.

My abiding memory is of her playing hide-and-seek with her dad and taking the ipad (i.e. us) behind the curtain to hide with her!

Water69 Mon 24-Jun-19 21:29:33

Thank-you for all the suggestions! They are wonderful! we do travel to see them about 4 times a year. My GD is 3 1/2 and is she is shy when we come but I will start sending cards and pics and FaceTiming.

BlueBelle Mon 24-Jun-19 22:03:52

Ahh well seeing them four times a year is great and more than many grandparents do She will be shy when you first get there but will soon thaw especially if you arrive with a small inexpensive present in your suitcase
I used to love getting postcards from my Nan and grandad and have still got a shoebox with them in when she is a bit older there will be games apps you can play on your phones I often play a WordSearch and other word games with one of my ‘away’ granddaughters

NotSpaghetti Mon 24-Jun-19 23:30:07

We lived in the Midwest for a year and our families were in the UK. We couldn’t afford to visit and neither could they. My family kept in touch with our 3year old daughter as NanaandGrampy said, by sending little stickers, notebooks, hair clips and tiny toys such as balsa planes, packets of balloons etc. These arrived regularly with pictures “letters”, postcards and little drawings. My daughter was always excited to see them and would happily chat on the phone to her grandparents.
If I was in your position I would send little tokens and “letters” and these days I’d probably use WhatsApp to send little messages or videos. My grandchildren often sing to me on WhatsApp videos, and they send me photos of (often) animals they see.
Good luck! Four times a year is not a lot but you can still get to know and love each other if you reach out often in small ways.

Coolgran65 Tue 25-Jun-19 00:24:41

Four times a year would be wonderful.. I last saw my ds and dgs ftf 3 years ago. FaceTime including dgs every couple of months, phone call with ds every 2or 3 months, however we do email at minimum every few days.

Coolgran65 Tue 25-Jun-19 00:27:29

Oops. Should have said he is 8000miles away and dgs is 6.

GoodMama Tue 25-Jun-19 22:34:41

Water69, check in with the parents and see what they would like. Since their daughter is 4 they will need to facilitate. You will want to make sure they’re onboard and approve.
They also might have suggestions that their daughter will like and respond to best.
Don’t just start sending things and expecting video chats.
Speak with the parents first about what you are requesting and work through them.

Water69 Sun 30-Jun-19 23:13:56

Another situation I have. My daughter-in-law likes expensive gifts for herself and my granddaughter. She has very expensive taste. Her parents are quite wealthy and they take the whole family on expensive trips. They are also very nice people and very good to my son. She goes way over the top in asking for expensive gifts from me. How do I handle this? We live very modestly.

Razzy Mon 01-Jul-19 00:16:56

I would send whatever gifts you want to send. When I was poor I would send personal gifts, maybe something I made, whatever I could get at a good price, just as a token gift. It is unfair and quite rude I think for someone to ask someone for a specific and expensive gift. I always consider the person asking me what I want for a present - if I know they don't have a lot of spare cash I will always ask for something they can get cheap - I've asked for things like a pair of gloves or some jam. They can spend within their budget and I am happy with their kindness in getting me a gift.
Does your son know your financial position? Maybe just be straight with him and tell him you cannot afford it, maybe give them an idea of your budget?

GoodMama Mon 01-Jul-19 01:35:15

Could you ask her what her favorite author is and send a book (with gift receipt so she can exchange if she already has it?) Or what her favorite type of wine is and send a bottle in your price range? A basket of her favorite fruits? I love gifts like that.
Same for your grandaughter (not the wine, of course) but what books she's in to these days. Things like that.

Gifts that show you know her and love her rather than just expensive, I bet she'd be touched.