Long-distance grandparenting – ouch! Sadly it’s the norm for many families today.
Some families move across town, some across the country, and some across the globe.
Our only two grandchildren live literally on the other side of the world. Our son and daughter-in-law work for a non-profit humanitarian agency whose home leave policy is three months at home for every year on the field. Most families in their agency save up leave to come home for an entire school year. For us that year was last year, ten months packed with intentionally made memories large and small, from camping at the Grand Canyon to geocaching in the parking lot of our neighborhood drugstore to just plain babysitting so our son and daughter-in-law could have real “date nights,” a hard-to-come-by commodity when they were on the field.
So much fun meant so much heartache saying good-bye. Though our grandchildren were only three and six, they knew they were going back to another far-away country and culture. The anxiety of leaving family spilled out of our grandson’s heart, eyes and conversations during the final month of their home visit: “Grandma, I wish we could stay here with someone until Mommy and Daddy are finished with the work they have to do.”
“You can stay with us!” my heart cried silently, protesting the words coming out of my mouth, “I know, but you’d miss Daddy and Mommy. I’m sure your friends there have missed you, too, and can’t wait to see you again!” Over my heart’s objections, true love told me I needed to do something to help our grandkids make the transition, so through my tears I wrote a poem – with a bow to Dr. Seuss – to tuck into their carry-on bags along with toys and treats for their 32-hour journey – a fun surprise for them and therapy for a grieving Grandma’s heart!
I’ve been blessed to visit them three times since, to see where they live and share in some of their adventures and favorite places in the towns they’ve lived in. I am so proud of my son and daughter-in-law for providing love, grace, shared faith, strength and the stability of love for both of these kids we share in family love, wherever they are!
Home is Where the Love Is
On the grandkids’ moving day, they were scared to move away,
So Grandma called them on the phone to say, “You’ll never be alone.”
“No matter where the road may wind you, know my love will always find you.
If you move to Timbuktu, I’ll still come visit you.
If you fly to Zanzibar, my heart won’t think that is too far.
If you’re as close as Nacogdoches, I’ll come hug you so ferocious!”
“If you wake up in Jingxi, you both mean the world to me.
Take the bus back to Nanning? Call on the computer and we can sing.
I’ll send you packages in Key Largo, even though it’s farther than Fargo.
If you drive to Jodrell Bank, my love will fully fill your tank.
If you stop in Honolulu, my love won’t stop; it will pursue you!”
“Ride a camel to Kyrgyzstan, and I’ll still be your biggest fan!
If you get hot in Madagascar, Gram still thinks you’re cool – just ask her!
Sail a boat to Truk or Yap? My heart won’t even need a map.
Cruise the Strait of Kattegat? My heart always knows where you’re at.
Stuff your backpack for Hong Kong? You’re carrying my heart along.
Forget you in Ulaanbaatar? No way! My thoughts are where you are!”
“Across the globe while you are sleeping, I’m awake; you’re in love’s keeping.
When I sleep and you’re at play, your hearts are just a dream away.
Around the world we’ll rendezvous because I think the world of you!
It’s true, no matter where you dwell, your Grandma loves YOU. Can’t you tell?
From east to west, Cape Town to Nome, where family love is, there is home.”