Monday, December 5, 2011

Long-Distance Grandparents

Homemade donuts

There are perks to having out-of-town kids.
For one thing, when you visit, you get in on breakfast.

Saturday morning treat.

The women in our family are fabulous cooks,
so we go from house to house and sample their specialties.

"Has anybody noticed you guys are twins?"

Micah's birthday was a perfect reason to drive to Denver. It's so fun to see our kids in their natural habitat! Although we love to have them at our house, at their house they're most comfortable being the people they've become.

I was chatting with Candice this morning while she made a meatloaf (wrapped in bacon!) The kids were upstairs getting ready for church and from the kitchen I could see each one go into their parent's bedroom and come out with Sunday outfits draped on a hanger. "Micah is the ironer," Candice said. "Every Sunday he presses everybody's clothes." This was their family in action, and we saw the details.

There are tons of advantages to having kids in town. I can watch the progression of a loose tooth, go to kindergarten programs and see Halloween costumes in person. We can bring each other soup, pop in to see the Christmas tree and know there's emergency help just a few minutes away.

But there are advantages to having faraway kids, too. Visits are condensed and intense--for a few days we see it all. Not only did we see Lauren's play, we saw her chattering nervously for hours before, and acting like a diva for hours after. Three kids have a piano recital tomorrow night and not only will we see the performance, we've enjoyed practice sessions all weekend. The boys shoveled a neighbor's driveway as a good deed, and were thrilled when she gave them $20. Their dad reminded them that a good deed is its own reward, and they willingly took the money back. These are details we don't see with our in-town kids, although I know they happen in their homes, too. Observing life close-up is compensation for missing out on the day-to-day.

The Colorado Cousins Club

Long before our kids grew up we imagined them living far and wide. Dee said we'd sell everything, buy an RV and travel around the country visiting one kid or another. In our old age we realized we prefer indoor to outdoor plumbing, and nobody wants us to live for months at a time in their driveway. So the RV idea was scuttled (grandkids and grandparents are preferable in small doses anyway.) But we're friendly with some faraway places because they've lived there: Minneapolis, Seattle, Yardley PA, Cleveland, Toledo, Denver, San Diego, Boston, St. Louis, Idaho Falls, Fountain Valley CA, and Phoenix.

It's great to be a traveling Oma!

How do you stay close to faraway loved ones?
(Here's an idea.)

Any long-distance Christmas ideas?
(Here's an easy one.)

I've already done all mine. Tell me some of yours!


Chiska said...

This year we sent my folks a book that we have and we plan to read it together on Christmas--over the phone or if the stars align on Skype.

Diane said...

What a great perspective. I never thought of it that way.

mama boss said...

How funny! We had a grandma visiting us in Denver this weekend!
Sometimes it's difficult to live far from family, but it made our visit with grandma so much more exciting, welcome, and wonderful! Sounds like you've had a great visit with your loved ones, too. :)

marta said...

homemade donuts!? meatloaf wrapped in bacon!? candice is a dream cook; merry christmas to you! glad you're enjoying it in denver. i love the pic of dad and miggs in santa red. have a safe trip. hurry home!