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Grandparenting

grandchildren overseas

(33 Posts)
red1 Sat 26-Sep-20 11:06:11

hi all
anyone experienced the following,my son and 2 children moved overseas, i went through a grieving process naturally which took a while now,its visits twice a year which is ok at present,They went 3 years ago.Since moving they have had 2 more children, the thing that i have noticed is that i don't feel that close to them,this has taken me by surprise.I can only put it down to not being around them when they were born.I know things may change anyone experienced the same? Ain't life funny!

Calendargirl Sat 26-Sep-20 12:10:16

I assume you mean the two new GC?

Yes, I can quite understand if you don’t feel as close to them. I have 3 GC in Australia, we went out several times when they were small, not so much since school, college, work took over as they got older.

I would never admit to my DD, their mum, that I don’t feel as close to them as my other 2 GC who live a few minutes walk away from us, but that is because I have seen so much more of them as they have grown up, and simply know them better.

I love them all, but accept the situation for what it is.

EllanVannin Sat 26-Sep-20 12:22:36

Similar situation for me too. I thought it was me.

EllanVannin Sat 26-Sep-20 12:33:02

I remember being mortified and generally beside myself when D and new husband emigrated in the early 80's. Up until the end of the 90's while still earning I " commuted " to Oz and in those times was lucky to have introduced myself to the 3 children they'd had so that they knew who I was.

Have since had a visit from one GS 2 years ago, then last year D and SiL paid a visit in between their busy schedule of visiting various parts of the country before holidaying in Greece. Good job it wasn't this year !

I'm quite put out with this virus though as D will be 60 in January and it's their 40th Anniversary next July sad All celebrations on hold ! Even my own and I'm miffed.

tanith Sat 26-Sep-20 12:53:51

I'm in the same boat with 2 of my GC born abroad and I accepted long ago i would never be as close with them as the others. I see them once or twice a year but only once this year luckily just as we were locked down I could go now but I choose not to fly yet. We just have to accept these situations as hard as it is.

LauraNorder Sat 26-Sep-20 13:17:54

red1, it is very difficult isn't it. I too feel more 'connected' with the children I see most often but do love them all equally. I suppose the best we can do is keep up contact and be interested in what they do. When the time comes to meet again keep on cuddling and laughing until those bonds grow stronger naturally.

BlueBelle Sat 26-Sep-20 13:56:42

I guess it’s natural although I have always felt guilt about it I have 7 grandkids who I love equally but the 2 over the other side of the world who I only see every three of four years dont feature in my thoughts nearly as much as I would want or expect I thought there would be the same feelings about them all but when you think about it it’s the contact and connection that makes the link isn’t it and that’s missing I don’t expect they think of me, they have another Nan and grandad in the next street so I doubt I m very utmost in their thoughts either Its all a bit sad isn’t it? When they were little there was the excitement of choosing and sending toys and clothes, Imagining them opening them in excitement a present from overseas and in turn me getting photos and updates on school, parties, friends etc but since high school its drifted and not happening any more and I really have so little involvement that I don’t really know them I don’t have that ‘they re part of me’ feeling They are late teens and early 20 s now Just putting money in a bank account twice a year doesn’t really do it does it
They all have equal Christmas and birthday presents and I d give a kidney to any of them ❤️

OceanMama Sat 26-Sep-20 14:20:24

Is there really any need for a pretense about not feeling as close to overseas grandchildren as local ones? As an overseas grandchild, my mother has complained to me (in adulthood) that I and siblings didn't get all the gifts from our grandmother that the local grandchildren got, and that we didn't get anything of her estate when she died and it was all taken by the local grandchildren. Honestly, I don't see the issue. Of course she was always going to be closer to local grandchildren and have more of a relationship with them. I do not feel offended or left out, it makes sense. She saw them all the time. I met her three times in my life.

My MIL is closer to her local grandchildren who she sees far more often. What else would I expect?

I wouldn't say anything to children about not feeling as close to them of course, but no-one needs to feel bad about what is a logical consequence of distance.

SueDonim Sat 26-Sep-20 14:36:20

I suppose I know more about my physically nearest GC’s (Two hours drive away) little habits and likes and dislikes than my other GC but I don’t feel that I’m any more or less close to them otherwise.

None of the further-away GC has any other family living nearby so I guess that makes a difference. If they each had the other granny living next door, it could be a different story.

The GC are still thrilled to see us on FT (Might change when they’re teenagers!) and I hear most days from their parents so I feel as though we’re in the loop with them.

Moggycuddler Sun 27-Sep-20 09:49:08

Of course it's normal and probably inevitable to feel closer to someone you see regularly, and share much more of your life with, than to those who live far away. Can't be helped. You are not lacking, it's just how things are.

ReadyMeals Sun 27-Sep-20 09:58:23

Yes, at the end of the day children are just people, and as far as I know there is nothing in blood that magically keeps you emotionally closer to relatives. For instance, I was upset when my son first estranged himself from me, but as time's gone by I find I think of him less, and it doesn't stir up any strong feelings when I do. I wish him well but that's all really.

silverlining48 Sun 27-Sep-20 10:17:43

The same thing can happen with ones adult children who move abroad.
Not being part of their day to day lives over many years can sadly create emotional distance too.

Callistemon Sun 27-Sep-20 10:22:47

As an overseas grandchild, my mother has complained to me (in adulthood) that I and siblings didn't get all the gifts from our grandmother that the local grandchildren got, and that we didn't get anything of her estate when she died and it was all taken by the local grandchildren

I find that upsetting. If I give my DGC here any extra, like spends for holidays etc, I always make sure that DGC overseas get the same.
They get the same for Christmas and birthdays too, although I will transfer money in future for the overseas family as postage is just far too high.

EllanVannin Sun 27-Sep-20 10:30:50

What I do treasure from my distant GC is a photograph album, when cameras were the norm, of various stages of their growth---from birth onwards and of course many more taken when I visited them in Oz.

Now I have emails with pics included so I haven't missed out over the years. 2 of them are in their 30's and one in her mid-20's so all know me well. What I will miss will be GGC should they come along soon as only my GD is in a steady relationship, so hoping they won't leave it too late ( for my sake )

oldmom Sun 27-Sep-20 10:32:47

My parents migrated to Australia from Europe in the early 60s. I never knew any of my grandparents. They did send gifts, and we exchanged letters, but that's it. They didn't know me as a person and I didn't know them, but I never felt upset that my cousins did. Naturally, my grandparents felt much closer to the grandchildren they knew. That's normal.

It's easier now, though. My MIL lives a 2 hour flight away, but we Skype every week. DS is still close to her.

Jill0753 Sun 27-Sep-20 11:03:57

It’s the same for me too. I have 2 grandchildren who live in the UK (but 5 hours away) and 2 who live in Australia. I rarely see the Australian GC who are 8 and almost 6 on FaceTime etc but do speak to my son every week or so. No photos although I know that their mother takes photos every day. I’ve just had to accept that it is what it is and at least they are pleased to see us when we are able to be together. I’m quite relieved to find that I’m not alone in feeling so much closer to my UK grandchildren. I’m the daughter of a merchant sailor and so I grew up with long distance relationships and all the uncertainties of when he would be home again so I should be used to people being apart. I don’t like it any more than I did when I was a child myself.

Metra Sun 27-Sep-20 11:19:19

I am in the same position as ReadyMeals. My only son has no wish to see me. When his daughter was born (his partner had a very difficult birth) he stayed at home for 2 months when I was not allowed to visit. He returned to work and I drove 70miles twice a week taking several home cooked meals for them as well as things for my granddaughter. They asked me to mind her when son's partner returned to work but I had to refuse as being 77 and not in good health I couldn't cope with the daily drive as well as looking after a baby/toddler. Since then I have only seen them once and rarely hear from them. I am heartbroken. I have no other family in the UK although my sister in Canada has been very supportive. Sorry for the moan.

Minerva Sun 27-Sep-20 11:31:41

I miss my DD down under every day although we message every day and I get photos, especially of the GC I will probably never meet. I’m not well enough to travel three flights to see them and can no longer afford to bring the 6 of them over here. Maybe the youngsters will one day come to the U.K. just as their Dad did (and ran off with my DD) but I will be long gone.
On the other hand the GC who lives with me, and throws little arms around me a dozen times a day, I love to pieces and also the GC I cared for from 8 months and really grieved for when he went to school and his affectionate little sibling too.
I tried not to love the faraway ones less and they all get gifted the same but have to admit I feel very different about them😢

phantom12 Sun 27-Sep-20 11:39:43

My son and his family went to live in Australia in 2011. His partner is Australian so it was always on the cards. Their son was 3 at the time and I had looked after him quite a lot so had a close bond, but their little girl was 11 weeks old so we never really had the chance to get to know her. She was quite a cranky baby and when they came back for a visit after a year she was still the same and just wanted her mum all the time. We have visited them 4 times and have now built up a bit of a relationship with our grand daughter but it is hard going and always seems that just as we are making progress it is time to go home. Our grandson is 12 now and we always slot back in with him just as if we have never been apart. We Skype most weeks and I always try to send them nice things at Christmas and for birthdays. I have two grandsons living not too far away and looked after them a lot when they were little so have a close bond with them. It feels a shame to have the one grand daughter but have great difficulty getting close to her. I think living with the fact that some of our family are thousands of miles away has helped us cope with lockdown as we are used to separations.

Jan51 Sun 27-Sep-20 11:48:52

I know what you mean Red1. I love all 4 of my grandchildren who all now live 300 miles away, but my younger DD was living with us when she was pregnant with eldest DGS and he was born on our sofa and she then stayed local for 3 yrs so I had him every weekend. 13 yrs later I still feel a special bond with him.

Mealybug Sun 27-Sep-20 11:53:39

Slightly different but when my Grandson was born my daughter, partner and him lived with me. Things didn't work out for them and she asked him to leave so her and my Grandson stayed with me for a further three years (he's 8 now). He's Autistic and I used to mind him when she went back to work, we developed a strong bond and I missed him when they moved out. Inbetween she met her now husband who was told he couldn't have children but out of the blue, dtr got pregnant and I felt I was betraying my Grandson (silly I know) but I've never felt as close to my gdtr and I have to him and it's taken a long time to accept her fully (totally not her fault).

red1 Sun 27-Sep-20 11:56:03

thanks for replies, logical really ,if someone is not around you physically on a regular basis and in your daily living then the ties loosen.I have found that lots of people separated from their families report a type of 'ache' that exists, but lessens with time.But then there are estranged family members who I never want to see again, but that is a different post!

luluaugust Sun 27-Sep-20 13:09:07

I expect it is mother nature helping us out again. For various reasons and now the virus we haven't been able to see our eldest GC for sometime. We think of them a lot but I admit we are closer to the GC nearby it feels inevitable.

seadragon Sun 27-Sep-20 13:14:48

I had a consuming career in social work and moved home to pursue it several times; together with my husband and children. This meant reduced contact with other family. However, now we are back in Scotland we find that regular extended family gatherings have created some lovely new relationships with grown up nephews and nieces through shared interests and their own milestones.

Calendargirl Sun 27-Sep-20 13:27:35

When they were small, we went over to Oz once a year for three weeks at a time.
I was a bit put out when I once asked DD if the children missed us when we left. She said no, they just accepted Granny and Grandad had come out on the plane from England, had a holiday with them all, then got back on another plane and went home.
Which is how it is, of course, they just accepted it as natural.

🛩