Three of our four children happen to live in the same city. This helps us. Becaus the city is approximately six hours away from our home. The fourth child kindly remained close enough that we can occassionally drop in for lunch.
Recently, I drove to the city to visit the long-distance children. I daydreamed on the way about having a family meal with everyone gathered around the table. I thought of long chats and warm hugs to make up for all the time we miss when we are so far away. But you know what happened, right? On my second night in town, four of the grandchildren had concerts in three different schools. At the same time. (A fifth grandchild was performing back home.)
This is typical, of course. Life is full, and everyone has a calendar of their own. We really wouldn’t want it any other way. We do, however, want to find ways to connect to this generation of amazing young people. So, here are three ways we stay connected to our fourteen grandchildren:
- Get Techie. – We will never catch up with them. I still feel like my granddaughters are speaking a different launguage when they talk to their friends on Instagram. But, I’m in the conversation. I can ask about their friends when we are together. And, I can send a quick message to the girls now and then.
I text our grandsons to tell them we are cheering before football games, marching band performances, or drama debuts. (Note: your mom commeting on social media that you look good in your uniform is embarrassing. Your grandmother saying so makes all the girls go, “Ahhhh, that’s so sweet.”)
FaceTime, Skype, and other video conferencing options are the stuff of our sci-fi dreams in junior high. Now, they let us read stories to our grandchildren over breakfast.
2. Stay Flexible – We tend to like our routines as we age. But, a plan is only useful if it allows you to pivot quickly when the need arises. Recently, we planned a weekend trip to the city with specific things in mind. Places to go, people to see, things to do. At the last minute, one of our local grandsons asked if he could ride along to see the cousins. Instead of listening to an audio book as we drove, we heard a glossary of Fantastic Beasts from the amazing voice of our favorite 11-year-old. Our routines changed dramatically. And we were so much richer for it.
3. Invest Wisely – We are a few, scary-short years from retirement age. It is tempting to work harder and work longer right now to try and position ourselves better financially for the years when we may not have the strength to work. But, we’ve never been all about the money. Why start now? Instead, we decided to close the office an hour early on Friday’s this summer. We want to try and take in a ballgame with the grandsons now and them. Maybe drive out to the city for an extra birthday visit. Or just go sit on the deck and listen to our eldest grandson talk before he heads off to college this time next year. We think that is investing wisely.
The Bible says in the Book of Proverbs that children’s children are the crown of old men. We think that is true for old women, too. And we plan to enjoy the wealth. Even if we have to do it through our smart phones.