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Grandparenting

Missing close relationship with granddaughters in Australia

(43 Posts)
PenTur Tue 26-May-20 13:54:47

Both our son and daughter now live happily in Australia with their partners. Our son has two girls aged 10 and 6, both born in Oz. They are our only grandchildren. We visit them every year but have no idea when we will be able to see them again. We have a great relationship with them whilst we are there and are made very welcome. Their parents lead busy lives and we have learned that it is easier not to call them without prior arrangement, so we don’t get to see them on FaceTime very often, maybe once every three weeks or so.
This we can cope with, but we never seem to receive handmade cards from the girls at Christmas or on birthdays. It was my DH’s birthday yesterday and he would have loved to have received a special card from them however simple. He did have a chat on FaceTime, but they get easily bored and it becomes chaotic! I remember encouraging my kids to write thank you letters and create cards when they were young, but it seems that is no longer important to the parents. We are feeling a little sad and quite lonely at the moment, we have no other family apart from a very elderly mother, so no idea who we would form a “bubble” with if it comes to that eventually.
Maybe we should accept the situation, what do other Gransnetters think?

silverlining48 Tue 26-May-20 14:21:07

Distance makes things difficult and Australia is far away. I find that FaceTime etc though better than nothing if course, is not satisfactory as the children are mainly messing about.
I understand why you are both disappointed not to have a special birthday card yesterday, but you never know one might be in the post, and agree that thank you and special cards etc are not seen as important these days.
These are difficult times, we are all finding things hard. Try not to upset yourselves, spoil your mum, and plan something nice for better times.
Its my birthday shortly and I secretly hope I get a hand made card, but probably won’t, my grandies are the same age as yours.
Happy birthday to your husband.

Juliet27 Tue 26-May-20 16:40:09

I've private messaged you PenTur

PamelaJ1 Tue 26-May-20 20:38:26

I grew up on the opposite side of the world. We went to Nigeria when I was 4, returned at 5and a half. Went to HK at 6 until 18 with leaves about every 3 years when we came to the U.K. and stayed with Granny and grandad.

We knew and loved them. That was without telephones even.

I have no idea how old you are or your mother but Have you thought of relocating?

One of our DD’s lives in Sydney another lives about a mile away. We are going to go to Australia every year for a couple of months now we have more time. Is that possible for you?

BTW my mum got a card a couple of weeks ago that I posted in WA in March.

EllanVannin Tue 26-May-20 20:57:50

I too have a far away family in Sydney and luckily my adult GC there know me quite well as over the years I visited frequently when they were growing up and last year my D and SiL came visiting here which was lovely. GS's have also been and will be over again at some time in the near future.

GD has a partner so whether they'll venture I'll have to wait and see. I get plenty of pics via email and of course phone-calls and emails keep us going.
I used to stay 3 months at a time when I went so got to know the area well and also all their friends who are dotted in and around Sydney. It's always nice to hear how they're all doing too.

My greatest memory once when I was there was when Princess Diana was killed and it came on the news as we were all about to eat dinner at one of the friends. None of us could eat anything that night, it was terrible.

Hithere Wed 27-May-20 01:03:49

You have no other choice but to accept what is given to you, which I think is very good, btw.

You have frequent videochats, the birthday was acknowledged and you feel welcome when you visit.
It sounds to me like an excellent relationship, why spoil it?

Do not expect your gc to do what your kids did when they were growing up.
Your gc are different people, they are not your kids.
Your son follows his own parenting style, together with his partner.
You will not be able to recreate your parenting experience through them.

Rondetto Wed 27-May-20 09:58:00

This is what maddens me about that Cummings bloke. We've been locked up since March, haven't seen our daughters or grandchildren and he goes off on his jollies. He should have done what he told us to do and self isolate his family.

annecordelia Wed 27-May-20 09:59:11

I understand those feelings. I have three grandchildren living 70 miles away. I used to see them every 2 weeks, had them to sleep over, minded them during school holidays and also give my daughter several hundred pounds every month to help with their rent as they are always struggling. During lockdown I have sent them clothes and gifts online and phone regularly. Not once have they phoned me, much less sent a little card or a picture. I do get photos and videos on WhatsApp but those are a whole-family thing and not just for me. I am feeling neglected tbh!

annecordelia Wed 27-May-20 10:01:36

But as I say in my post, you can't help feeling hurt. I'm not about to 'spoil' anything in my relationship with my daughter, and after lockdown will continue as usual, but I am still hurt.

dizzygran Wed 27-May-20 10:01:39

I know how much home made cards and drwings from DG mean, but can I suggest that you make a collage card for each of your DG - pictures of you and your Dh in the house and garden and any nearby attractions, pets, etc, and any nearby attractions. This will give you something to talkabout - and maybe they could do something similar for you. Oz youngsters love to travel so will no doubt visit the UK in a few years.

meanwhile, don't let this spoil your talks with them - you have a lovely family and hopefully will be able to visit soon.

Lyndie Wed 27-May-20 10:04:59

I talk to my granddaughter on WhatsApp video everyday. She uses her Mum’s phone . It means she can carry me round the house showing me the cat, slime or in her pool Or what she has been doing on Star stable etc. It’s like I am there with her. I think being on FaceTime, zoom, houseparty, meet etc. Means the children are static and get bored. I also help her with English every morning on WhatsApp. Perhaps this might help you spend more time with your grandchildren. Also it doesn’t need the parents to be there. My granddaughter calls me any time she feels she wants a chat. She is 9.

Aepgirl Wed 27-May-20 10:05:46

Sadly at the moment it makes no difference if your grandchildren are thousands of miles away or just down the road. We are all being denied contact and feeling sad and lonely.
I have never expected handmade cards from any one, but know that any card I receive from my grandson has been chosen with live and care.
I think 3 weeks between FaceTime calls is a little unkind - surely once a week could be timetabled into their busy lives, and if it was the same day and time each week it would give you something to look forward to.

Albangirl14 Wed 27-May-20 10:06:04

I would also add that in my experience Australians do not send as many cards as we do and don't put so much value on them. I have a sister cousin nephews and other relations there and they rarely send cards. So much so that I send them less as the postage is so high Just for my sister and special occasions such as Weddings.

Taliya Wed 27-May-20 10:08:35

I think maybe you are feeling like this because of the lock down and not being able to socialise with people at the moment. I don't know how old you are and if you are having to shield because of your age of underlying health conditions? Children of that 10 and 6 do get bored easily and your daughter and son ,as you say, have busy lives. I'm sure you will be able to go and visit them later this year..? That's something to look forward to.
If you don't have to shield then try and go out and plan day trips? Beaches are open and even with social distancing with other people around you probably wouldn't feel so lonely . Outdoor activities are now allowed like tennis and golf.

Grangail Wed 27-May-20 10:10:15

It is difficult engaging children on FaceTime. I would suggest using an App called Caribu. It is an interactive reading/activity app and I have found it really successful for engaging my grandson of 2 who lives abroad. It is aimed at younger ones but I have friends who successfully read to their older grandchildren via FaceTime, maybe a chapter a session. We also find that sending a few props, dinosaurs, trains, etc that are pertinent to the story helps engage the wee ones further. I hope this helps someone somewhere to have fun! x

Pietre Wed 27-May-20 10:12:22

I am stuck in Portsmouth, and my Fiancee and her family including twins born the day after lockdown, are in Eastbourne. I can’t even see them at the end of a front garden. Although I speak to my Fiancee 3 times a day on the phone, it doesn’t make things any easier. My granddaughter has returned from IOW, so I have seen her once since lockdown. I hope we are able to meet soon for all those missed cuddles.

shamene Wed 27-May-20 10:12:56

Firstly ‘happy birthday’ .. to your husband.. I too miss my three granddaughters immensely.. so can understand your feelings.. don’t be upset think of the rainbow 🌈 .. better days will come.. 😊

jaylucy Wed 27-May-20 10:13:46

Things are so different from when we were young - technology has taken over and every thing is instant.
When I lived in Aus, the main communication was by letter and the once a month phone cal on a Sunday unless something more important had happened !
I remember my ex SiL saying "it doesn't hurt for children to have manners and say please and thank you" yet I never had a thank you from either of her children after I sent presents to them!
It's disappointing that no birthday cards etc have been forthcoming for you and DH. It probably hasn't occurred to the GC that you would be disappointed - maybe at some point , when facetiming or skyping , just drop into the conversation that you would love (or love) to have pictures etc or other things that they have made sent to you? A quiet word to your AC also might be in order as well just saying that because of the lockdown (theirs has been so much more relaxed and a shorter time than ours) DH was disappointed not to have been sent a card .

Lizbethann55 Wed 27-May-20 10:15:58

Rondetto why do people have to bring DC into everything. This discussion is about grandchildren in Australia. There are enough posts about the idiot without hijacking this one! Of course the stupid, arrogant man should fall on his sword. But so should Stephen Kinnock (about whom very little has been said) and I am sure there are others keeping their heads well down. But there is a forum for those elsewhere.

Mbuya Wed 27-May-20 10:21:13

I agree with someone who said to make the most of what you have. I am currently in Australia visiting my daughter, sil and only grandchild. I have a very good relationship with GC but have accepted that when I am not here I am probably out of mind as my grandchild seems to lead a busy life. My daughter does however keep in touch on WhatsApp and sends photos and videos of my grandchild's life. Sending cards seem a thing of the past and we just have to make the most of the time together.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 27-May-20 10:27:54

Pentur
The responsibility for a GC's behaviour lies on the shoulders of the parent. Does DD know how you feel? Tread carefully. Does it have to be hand made cards?Isn't it the thought that counts regardless of whether they be hand made or purchased from a local shop.?

Apricity Wed 27-May-20 10:47:19

As an Aussie who also has a son and grandchildren living in Scandinavia I do understand long distance family stuff and the sadness about some things not happening as we would like. Our relationships are all positive and loving, just distant and intermittent. After 15 years I have come to accept that it is what it is. Not particularly original but very true.

I would like to echo the comment made by Albangirl that Aussies do not place the same importance on cards that those in the UK seem to do. I have often been quite surprised by posters on GN bemoaning the non reciprocal relationship re card sending with people they haven't seen for decades. Don't be too hurt if you don't receive cards just keep your focus on communication, whenever and whatever form it takes and those treasured if rare visits. It's the love that really counts not the cards. 🌺

Buffy Wed 27-May-20 10:49:47

Don’t feel badly PenTur, I don’t think it’s distance. You could live less than 10 miles away, as we do, and still have the same problem.
My girls are extremely sociable as are their children and so are very busy. I don’t like to be pushy so keep in touch by text so as not to bother them. I know that if we really needed them they’d be here but sometimes, when I’m feeling sorry for myself, I feel we’re way down on their list of priorities and they wouldn’t notice if we were away for months. I send the children postcards so that they remember who we are and we do get cards - when my daughters remember to send them.
Feeling gloomy and unloved today as you can tell!

juju17 Wed 27-May-20 10:52:28

Hi PenTur
Both my children live in Australia too and it is very difficult not knowing when you might see them. We were supposed to be going in August when we have a new grandchild due to arrive. I think prior to lockdown and travel bans, you always knew you could get there if you needed to.
It’s very difficult but maybe try surprising them with an impromptu FaceTime? I think there are many people in the same boat with children and GC far away.
Wishing your DH a happy birthday anyway

Nannan2 Wed 27-May-20 10:59:03

You're more used to not seeing them regularly unlike most on here.you get video calls etc, for now, why spoil it by moaning.i dont mean to be brusque, but some on here havent seen them at all right now anyway, (most of mine live further afield) and as for handmade cards- not many kids do those any more- its mostly the commercialised cards are sent.Try not be disheartened, maybe next time you call you can ask the kids yourself to make you a picture or card for your birthday? Sometimes a suggestion works? You can then say to parents you've asked kids to make you some & it will give them something to do-& can they please post you them ?? Often with folk busy they just don't realise.A Happy birthday for your OH flowers