Spending quality time with grandchildren is a top priority for most grandparents, but sometimes distance can create problems and the pain of not being able to be actively involved in their lives can set some grans and grandads on a downward spiral.
That is exactly how one concerned grandmother has claimed she feels as the family prepares to welcome another baby to the family, revealing on popular site Gransnet that she no longer lives near her children as she and her husband moved three-hours away.
“Hubby and I moved nearly three years ago,” she wrote. “It was something we had wanted to do for years. We absolutely love it where we live and have found a lovely house and have good jobs – but I miss our sons, new grandson and our future grand baby.”
The gran went on to say that the situation is made much more difficult as one of her sons, who recently had a baby, has a close relationship with his in-laws who live nearby. While she explained that her eldest son and his girlfriend are unable to make the move closer to them for financial reasons.
“My youngest son and gf [girlfriend] had a baby a few weeks ago,” she said. “We’ve seen him twice and I cannot stop looking at his photos, I love him so much already.
“My DIL [daughter-in-law] is an only child and is very close to her parents – they have always spent more time with her parents than us, even when we lived in Wales and I know they will never move away from them.”
She added: “My eldest son and gf are expecting their first child at xmas and are considering moving to be near us. DIL (who sadly has no parents) would be with us now but our son is sensibly more hesitant re: jobs etc.”
The gran said she doesn’t want to relocate again to be closer to their kids but she’s struggling with the prospect of not being more involved in her grandchildren’s lives, adding that while they have been able to bond with their grandson briefly, it’s not enough. On top of that the gran said her husband prefers to stay at home and doesn’t like making regular trips to visit them.
“We do not want to move back but I am finding it hard to imagine not being part of my grandchildren’s lives… both from seeing them grow up and helping practically with childcare,” the heartbroken gran admitted.
“Hubby is a home bird and only wants to visit every other month and will only stop one night then. (We both work and only have weekends off anyway). Hubby wants family to come to us but they all work and it’s a three hour trip each way – I feel it’s unfair to expect that from then when it was us that moved away.
She concluded: “I don’t think there is an answer to my dilemma… we don’t want to move but don’t want to miss seeing grandchildren growing up. I feel so guilty already for not being there and I am actually feeling really low again and don’t want to sink back into depression.”
The gran wasn’t the only one facing a difficult dilemma with many other doting grandparents sharing their words of comfort and advice. Many suggested using technology as a way to connect with the grandkids, while others advised her to go alone on more visits if her husband is not willing, claiming she should not let him hold her back.
“I’m a long distance GM [grandmother]. My twin GS [grandons] live on the other side of the country to me. It is difficult to be apart from them but communication is so easy,” one person commented. “We have weekly WhatsApp video calls, which are always entertaining and keep the relationship strong.”
They added: “You will have days when your heart will ache because of the distance but that will make the time you spend together even more precious.”
Another suggested: “Just because your husband doesn’t want to visit regularly as you, what’s stopping you going on your own sometime? And if you want to stay two nights you are surely able to travel back alone if you are both able bodied enough to work.”
While a third explained she uses technology to keep in touch writing: “To begin with we are all on Facebook and DS [dear son] posts pictures of DGC almost every day with summary of where and why photo is taken. We speak regularly on the phone and now the eldest has started secondary school and has a phone, we email and text each other.”