Grandparenting from afar

Not too surprisingly, one of the first questions I am asked when I mention my grandchildren is “How do you do it? I mean, how can you be so far from your grandchildren? I could never do that…”

My first response is that maybe you weren’t called to be so far away. I have been. Would I have preferred to be closer to them during these early years? Of course. My grammy heart misses all five of them every single day. But I am where God placed me. So that plants me firmly in Ukraine with all five little ones in Maryland.

But, it appears that our ministry may become more global (!!) and much work can even be done from anywhere that has internet. Even the States. God is so good to be giving us more time close to family in the future. And you can be sure that I will not take one single moment for granted!

But the question remains as to how to be a part of our grandchildren’s lives even from afar.

Alek via skypeThough I was slow to fully grasp the power of technology and how it connects us all worldwide, I am forever grateful to the inventors of skype! And also thankful that our grandchildren’s parents allow us to take advantage of this marvelous tool…the willingness has to be on both sides of the computer!

We have witnessed first roll-overs, first foods, early steps. We have been placed on a shelf to see first-hand birthday celebrations. We’ve sat on the kitchen table during breakfasts. We’ve even been privy to bathroom adventures! Of course, the little ones didn’t really interact initially though they were fascinated by the talking screen. But I felt a part of their lives…which is important from afar.

As they grew, our interactions also grew. Though our oldest is only 4, these young ones have so much excitement! “Grammy, I saw robins in our yard today.” “Grammy, grammy, grammy, listen to this [and one plays his own music on a keyboard]” “Grammy, can you see our fort? We made it today!” And I get to share in the wonder and accomplishments.

I made a point of buying my own copy of a book that the boys love and from time to time I even get to read it from afar. I love, love, love when they sit still for a long-distance story time. Sometimes they turn the pages in America while I do the same in Ukraine.

We travel a bit in our ministry and we send each grandchild a personal postcard from each town. They don’t yet read them, but they do love to find mail addressed to them. I remember receiving postcards from my grandparents when they traveled and it was a highlight of my day! Real mail. For me. Over time I began to realize that the mail was great but what was greater still was the reality that my grandparents had me on their minds even while they were exploring the whole world. How special was that?!

Electronic cards — most frequently on their birthdays — is another fun way to stay in touch. Interactive cards and ones with the child’s picture included have been the biggest hits thus far.

And probably the most important thing you can do? Pray for your grandchildren. And their parents. Remember how hard it was with little ones demanding your attention? Remember how tired you were with no full nights of sleep for years? Pray for grace for all. Just as we are learning how to be grandparents, our children are learning how to be parents. Prayer is crucial.

I’m still such a newbie to grandparenting that I can’t offer firsthand experience with dealing with older grandchildren. But I feel confident that some of YOU have some great tips to share with us all. How do YOU connect from afar? Please comment below!

And have a grand day.

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Joyce says:

    I think that no matter the distance, grandchildren recognize when someone is in love with them and shows it consistently, no matter the medium they choose. Skype, telephone, snail mail…..every contact is special and makes a lasting impression. I know your postcards are a hit. I recall the thrill of receiving a science magazine over the summer months during my early school years. It meant so much to have my own name on it. I don’t recall the contents, but I vividly remember mother handing the issues to me – just me!!!

    • Marianna Peipon says:

      Thanks for commenting! I love getting snail mail even now…well, something other than bills or ads. And a magazine??!! Wow! That must have been amazing!!

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