When your youngest grandbaby lives 1400 miles away and she is growing faster than the weeds in your yard, you do things you might not otherwise do. Since we use Skype for keeping in touch and seeing all her growth and weekly changes, we try to make every Skype occasion memorable. Hubby bought this Elmo puppet online months ago and we have enjoyed making him a part of almost every Skype session. Sometimes he might answer the Skype call before Nana or Poppy and sometimes he might magically appear in the middle of the conversation or rappel from above our heads. But it is rare for us to have a visit on Skype that Elmo does not make an appearance. He is always part of the fun. I have never met a child who didn't like Elmo and it's a given that his bright red fur, googly eyes, and orange nose are instantly noticed when he takes his place in front of the camera. Lately we have downloaded a new app where we can send texts and pictures back and forth for free and I will forever be amazed that we can communicate in this way at such long distances almost instantaneously. This way I feel more a part of her daily activities, like getting her toenails painted, having her breakfast, or sitting at her little table working on her numbers. Recently I received a picture of her making a snowman out of pink play-dough and rocks. Oh, the creativity of a two-year-old! We also talk on the phone briefly but it can get pricey, so we limit those to quick, gotta-talk-to-you-right-now moments. Plus, talking on the phone to another country still gets me every time with the 10-second or so delay. I find myself forgetting the delay and talking over the other person every single time!
So since Skype is our go-to for a vitual family visit and that satisfaction of knowing you're spending real time together (well, except for the delay here as well), we try to make these visits fun for Preston. It is such a joy to see her face light up when she sees ours. Of course, if it's just me, she doesn't give me a second look before she's asking "Where's Poppy?" That little girl loves her Poppy. Sometimes the internet connection is sketchy to say the least on their end and we don't get to talk long or maybe not at all if the internet quits completely, but we'll take any time we can get. Just a few minutes of that little face is enough to make my day! This past Saturday afternoon, we were having a visit when Preston kept running to her room bringing back things she wanted to show Nana and Poppy. We patiently waited for her and she returned with her little tea set. Now, if you know anything about the ladies in our family, we are a tea-party bunch. When the girls were growing up, we first had pretend parties and then real ones as they got older. So, of course, Preston had to have a tea set so she and her guests might indulge in the taking of afternoon tea. Now, it was too early in the day for high tea, but Poppy and I were delighted to have tea any time if our little Preston wanted tea. It was our pleasure. I ran to the toy closet and pulled out two cups and saucers and, as she poured tea for us into her little cups, we reached up to receive the tea with our cups and pulled them back as if she'd passed it through the camera. "Well, thank you, Preston, for the lovely tea!" The look on her face told it all. She was so pleased with herself! She's probably still wondering how she pulled that off but, more than likely, she's moved on to something else and has forgotten the magical tea party she had with Nana and Poppy. The attention span of a two-year-old is fleeting. But it was one of those precious moments you're so blessed to be a part of and you'll not soon forget, even if the smallest tea-taker doesn't remember it an hour later.
So why do we do silly, sometimes crazy, things for our grandchildren? Why do we act like fools dancing around the room with them? Why do we look for new ways to entertain them and make them happy? Because, well, they're our grandchildren! They're the children of our children and we take great pride in them! And unlike some of the daily stresses that go along with parenting, grandparenting has more of the fun factor and not the every-day-to-the-nose grindstone of child-rearing. You know how it goes...we keep them awhile, love on them, then return them to their parents. When we see our grandchildren, we use all of our resources and energies to make the visit the best that it can be. Then we take a nap. And if you, like me, are a grandparent that most of the time has to grandparent from a distance, you are hoping that all those special little things will add up to a life of memories and relationships built, even if it's mostly over the internet. Just to get that one smile, that truly exceptional hug, or the occasional comment that seals in your heart their love for you gets you pondering on the next memory you can make with them. And, of course, you ALWAYS want to stay one step ahead of the OTHER grandparents (jk!)!! I've sat on the floor for hours playing Barbies...listened to one of my grandchildren talk and talk for what seemed like forever without taking a breath, gotten hot and sweaty and bug-bitten having a picnic at the park when it would've been easier to stay home, and many other things I would only do for my precious grandchildren. And except for the soreness from sitting on the hard floor or from going down the slide for the tenth time, there are absolutely no regrets that come along with "grandchild time."
But seeing the look of amazement on her face as you take pretend tea through the camera while enjoying a virtual tea party with your two-year-old cherub? That was truly and without a doubt...priceless!
Posted by CC
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