How to Grandparent from Across the Globe?

We are extremely lucky with both sets of grandparents. All four of them want to be involved in the boys’ lives, they are genuinely interested and incredibly loving towards the chaps.

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We definitely don’t take this for granted, as this is not always the case and frankly I believe it is every grandparent’s right to decide how involved (or not) they want to be. It is not always fun and games, especially with twins.

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The only problem with our grandparents is that they don’t live in the same country as us. My parents live a 3h flight away, and my husbands’ a 24h flight away. Yes, they literally could not be more far away. So in our everyday life we don’t have a so called safety network. If something unexpected happens or the boys get ill, we have to rely 100% on our wonderful au-pair and the ability to work from home.

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It is not easy, sometimes it terrifies me to think that there is no one to help and
also I feel sad for the boys. Sad that they don’t get to see their grandparents that often or their cousins, aunts and uncles.

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This also means that when we are all together, it is very intense “being together”. It’s not about getting together for a Sunday lunch or dropping the kids off to grandma’s house for a sleepover, it’s about living our everyday life with us, being together pretty much 24/7.

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But one of the reasons why I think they want to be involved, is because we let them. We let them come into our house and truly be “at home”. We let them do everything they want to do with the boys and participate in the boys’life in all possible ways, and we let them give advice and voice their opinions.

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Last year when the boys were newborns, our kiwi grandparents came over and stayed with us for three months. They helped us tremendously by participating in everything; feeding, bathing, night feeding, going to the doctor, keeping them entertained and happy. Being a new parent is a very overwhelming time so to have their support and experience was wonderful.

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When they went home they left behind two babies that couldn’t do much and when they returned this year they came to something completely different: two one-year-olds, who are walking and communicating and making a constant mess of everything.

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So what about in the meantime? A year is a very long time not to see each other, especially in the life of babies.

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I think it is the responsibility of us, the parents, to keep the grandparents in the mind of the boys. So how do we do it? We have grandma’s and grandpa’s pictures on the wall in the boys’ room and we look at them and tell the boys who is in the picture. We talk to the boys about grandma and grandpa and Skype regularly.

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And the other way round? Again, our responsibility. We want to keep the grandparents on top of everything that is going on in the boys’ life. What they are learning, what they are doing, who they are meeting.
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And how do we do this? About once a month I put together a Picasa “letter” from the boys with photos and stories about what has been going on. We tell them how much we miss them and love them.
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At the end of the day I try not to worry too much about our situation. This is our life and this is how it is. We are incredibly lucky to have such wonderful grandparents. And on top of the fabulous four we also have great bonus grandparents; my aunt and uncle, my sister-in-law’s parents, my husband’s lovely aunt and uncle. All wonderful people, there to help and form the village that raises our boys.
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Have a safe journey home grandma and grandpa. See you next year. Even if you are far away in distance, you are always close to our heart.
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