Connecting With The Grandkids

“It takes a village to raise a child” ~ an African proverb

We all have busy lives and our daily routines. Days sometimes seem to slip into weeks, months and years. Sometimes you need to stop, or at least slow down. Are you prioritizing the things that really matter? Does that floor really need to be swept right now? ….Nah! I need to talk to my grandkids!

For now, I have to be a long-distance Nana. My daughter and her family are traveling with her husband’s job. With almost 3000 miles between us, I try to make an effort to connect and communicate with my grandchildren as much as possible. They’re busy with home school, I’m busy writing and there is a three-hour time difference between us…connecting can be tricky sometimes.

Of course, the easiest way is a phone call, but I like to try to make our time spent “together” a little more memorable and meaningful. I absolutely love the fact that we have Video calling, like FaceTime, Skype or Duo. This makes the connection much more real. Seeing each others faces, laughing together, telling stories, catching up on what’s going on in each other’s lives. One of the sweetest requests my grandson Jack asks for when we FaceTime, is for me to show him around my house. Although they lived with us for a few months and Jack knows every part of Nana and Grandpa’s house, he likes to walk through and remember his favorite parts and see what we’ve done new. With each video call, the grandkids have to say hello to my cats, Kiki and Eva. Then they have me walk around the yard and show them their swing, the flowers blooming, the frog pond, all the things that make Nana and Grandpa’s house special.

I also love to give them challenges or assignments. Things that they will do on their own, until we chat again. We’ll discuss an idea while chatting, then I email them a recipe or challenge. Things like baking cookies on their own, making their favorite dish with minimal help from mom, memorizing multiplication facts, learning something new they can teach me on our next call. Currently we are trying to learn Spanish together. By giving these tasks, it keeps you connected even when you’re not together. Then when we have our next chat session, they’re excited to share with me what they’ve done.

Although we text, talk on the phone and FaceTime, I also sent them each a stationary set and stamps. You know, the old snail mail. I just still think that’s a wonderful skill to have. To actually hand write a letter. It’s a dying art. I want my grandchildren to be tech savvy, but to also know the old ways. Both of my grandchildren are homeschooled.  With handwriting letters to Nana and Grandpa, it will also help them with their English and writing assignments.

It’s an important relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. It’s different from the parent and child relationship. We find ourselves in a calmer, wiser state with our grandkids. We’ve lived enough to know what’s important and how fast time flies. I truly believe in that old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. All of us play different and important roles in these little lives. Each of us have something to teach (or something to learn). Even the smallest effort to connect, listen and love your grandchild is important. They will remember it fondly. The lessons I learned from my Grandmother are still with me today. I treasure the moments and memories I had with her every day.

“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”

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